LOS ANGELES – Art Aragon, boxing's original "Golden Boy," who never won a world title but whose brashness, good looks and celebrity lifestyle made him one of the sport's biggest drawing cards of the 1940s and 1950s, died Tuesday. He was 80.
Aragon died at Northridge Hospital Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Christina Zicklin said. He suffered a stroke on March 15 and was removed from life support, his son, Brad, told the Los Angeles Times. Zicklin said she could not confirm those details, citing privacy laws.
Aragon lost his only world title fight to lightweight champion James Carter in 1951. Aragon, who struggled to make his weight class throughout his career, said afterward he was weak from having to lose seven pounds in the days before the fight.
Aragon finished with a 90-20-6 record, including 61 wins by knockout. He fought several stars of the era like Tommy Campbell, Jesse Flores and Carmen Basilio, who knocked him down after eight brutal rounds in 1958.
Born in Belen, N.M., the fighter grew up in East Los Angeles and began boxing in 1942. His first recorded professional fight was in 1944.
His career, however, was marred by allegations that at least some of his fights were fixed. In 1956 he was convicted of offering a $500 bribe to welterweight Dick Goldstein to take a dive in a Texas fight, but the conviction was overturned on appeal.
After retiring from the ring in 1960, he became a bail bondsman.