- Business Advocacy
The Alhambra Civic Center Library, 101 S. First St., will pay tribute to the classic story of Mexican American and Latino boxing in Los Angeles at 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 21, in Reese Hall. These true stories will be told by author Gene Aguilera. Hear him tell of the colorful era of the boxing culture’s golden age that still resonates to this day. The public is invited to this unique and free event.
In 1924, the Grand Olympic Auditorium was built as a venue for sporting events. During the 1932 Olympics, it hosted boxing, wrestling, and weightlifting. The building hosted some of the most epic boxing matches in Los Angeles from the late ‘40s through the mid ‘80s.
The Olympic became the hub of the burgeoning popularity of boxing among local Latinos and challengers from Mexico and throughout Central America. Many of the era’s greatest fighters were hosted at the Olympic. In the ‘50s and ‘60s, many of the epic bouts were televised. Newer venues like the Forum replaced the Olympic, and Los Angeles boxers like Oscar De La Hoya became world famous.
The rich history of Latino and Mexican-American boxing has been chronicled by Mr. Aguilera, who has written two books on the subject. Adorned with a wealth of the boxers’ own personal photographs, the books contain descriptions of the fights and the fighters who remain icons in the Latino community.
One of these boxers, Danny “Little Red” Lopez, grew up in Alhambra and for a time worked in the kitchen of Petrillo’s Restaurant on Valley. At one time he was the Featherweight Champion of the World and has been inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame. Another former Alhambra resident in the fight game is Greg Puente, a former California Super Featherweight Champion. Both these men have been invited to join Mr. Aguilera for his presentation in Reese Hall.
Mr. Aguilera’s work helps to keep alive the memories of boxing’s golden age in Los Angeles when it became the proving ground for Latino boxers from throughout North and South America. After his talk, Mr. Aguilera will have both of his books available for sale and will write personal dedications in each purchased book.