JO Sports Inc.

Regular price $135.00

HISTORY: Antonio Ayala Jr. (February 13, 1963 – May 12, 2015) was an American professional boxer who competed in the light middleweight division. He began his professional career in 1980, and by 1982 he had compiled a record of 22 wins and no losses, with 19 knockouts. Ayala was born to a boxing family, and had three brothers who were boxers, Mike Ayala, Paulie Ayala and Sammy Ayala. Tony Ayala is considered one of the most promising boxing wasted talents by boxing writers and historians, as his career cut short after he was imprisoned in 1983, at the age of 19. His first shot at the world title never happened due to his personal troubles and later conviction, while his second shot proved unsuccessful, as he was 40 years old and out-of-shape by that time. Ayala won National Junior Olympic titles in 1977 and 1978 as well as a National Golden Gloves championship in 1979, compiling an amateur record of 140–8 with sixty knockouts. He was one of Olympic hopefuls for the 1980 Summer Olympics, but turned pro instead of qualifying at the National Olympic Trials in Atlanta, Georgia (as Ayala withdrew, Charles Carter qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team in the middleweight class, but the U.S. participation was canceled soon thereafter due to the boycott). Ayala turned professional in June 1980 with a one-round knockout of Zip Castillo and proceeded to score three other first round knock outs in a row. He was co-managed by the Duva family, namely by Lou Duva, Dan Duva, and Kathy Duva. By December 1981 Ayala, the 18-year-old, was rated No. 3 by the World Boxing Association. The young boxer was known as a savage brawler who was often considered a "dirty" fighter; for example, on one occasion, he spit on his opponent after knocking him to the ground. He also admitted to using heroin before a fight on three occasions (his brother Mike Ayala also made allegations of using drugs before his world title fight against Danny Lopez). In the summer of 1981, teenager Ayala was featured in a cover story of Sports Illustrated as a rising star in boxing. Veteran boxing writer Michael Katz claimed he was the best young fighter he had ever seen; Muhammad Ali's trainer Angelo Dundee said he thought Ayala could have been one of boxing's greatest fighters. On September 16, 1981, Ayala fought on the undercard of the legendary fight between Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns. By summer 1982 Ayala split with and got back with his 18-year-old wife Lisa, they were living in New Jersey, not far from the Duvas. Twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays, he attended meetings of the local Alcoholics Anonymous. On Wednesdays, he drove to New York to attend meetings at the Freedom Institute. On November 19, 1982, Ayala was scheduled to meet Roberto Durán, the former lightweight and welterweight champion, in a 12-round junior middleweight bout co-promoted by Dan Duva and Don King, scheduled to be shown in prime time by NBC. During August-September 1982 he took a monthly course in a clinic, Care Unit Hospital in Orange, California, in an attempt to solve emotional problems. Though he was allowed to leave for training purposes. The rehabilitation program kept him from having a $750,000 payday against Roberto Duran. When the Duran fight didn't happen, Ayala settled for about $150,000 to fight Argentinian Carlos Herrera. 'It doesn't bother me,' he said. 'I'm looking at it as a step closer to the world title. Davey Moore is going to have to meet me after this fight.' After defeating Carlos Herrera, November 20, 1982, he was scheduled to fight champion Davey Moore. By December 1982, Ayala was already a second-ranked junior middleweight in the world. The fight was not to be. On January 1, 1983, Ayala burglarized the home of his neighbor, a young schoolteacher, and brutally sexually assaulted her. Although he was only 19 years old, Ayala had already been convicted twice of assaults against women. One of these attacks took place in the restroom of a drive-in theatre and left the victim with a broken back. He had been given probation for these offenses. Under a repeat offender's law, he was sentenced to 35 years in prison. The prosecutor at trial argued the young boxer should serve the full term because he was a danger to the community. Tony Ayala Jr. served his 35-year sentence term at Rahway State Prison and Trenton State Prison. Ayala died on May 12, 2015, age 52, from an apparent overdose at Zarzamora Street Gym, San Antonio, Texas. It has been reported in the media that drug paraphernalia was found near his body. Offered here is an original cover of The Ring dated December 1982 which pictures Tony Ayala and which he has boldly signed. From boxing autograph dealer Jim Stinson.

FULL DESCRIPTION: This is an original cover of The Ring, December 1982 picturing Tony Ayala. Boldly signed in blue sharpie. Not creased. Bold color and clear image. Clean with no staining. Minor edge wear. 7 1/2" x 10 1/4."From boxing autograph dealer Jim Stinson and comes with his original receipt.

Size: 7 1/2" x 10 1/4"

Condition: Very Good