Ossie Ocasio

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Osvaldo Ocasio, (born August 12, 1955), better known as Ossie Ocasio and nicknamed Jaws, is a Puerto Rican who was a boxer and world Cruiserweight champion. He got his peculiar nickname after accidentally biting another boxer during a sparring session.


Heavyweight contender

Ocasio campaigned in the Heavyweight division, turning pro in 1976 and putting together 10 wins before signing with Don King and making a name for himself outpointing King fighter Kevin Isaac.

In 1978 on the undercard of the Larry Holmes/Ken Norton title fight Ocasio scored a major upset when he outpointed the highly regarded Jimmy Young. Ocasio underlined his superiority by again outpointing an in-shape Young, this time in Puerto Rico.

This earned him his only world heavyweight title shot, against Larry Holmes in 1979. Attempting to become the first Hispanic to win the world Heavyweight championship, Ocasio was badly outclassed and lost to Holmes by a knockout in seven rounds.

In 1980 he fought red hot undefeated prospect Michael Dokes, and was unlucky to only get a draw. However a rematch saw Ocasio surprisingly knocked out in 1 round. The following year he travelled to the UK and made little effort against local prospect John L. Gardner, before collapsing without getting hit in the 6th round.

Cruiserweight World Champion

He later went down in weight, to fight in the then newly created division of the Cruiserweights. In 1982 he was matched with Robbie Williams in South Africa for the vacant WBA title. Ocasio became a world champion by beating Williams by a 15 round unanimous decision. He shared honors as world champion of that division with countryman Carlos De León, the WBC world champion.

Ocasio made three successful defenses, winning 15 round decisions over Young Joe Louis and Randy Stephens, and knocking out John Odhiambo in the 15th round in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. He then returned to South Africa, where he lost his title to Piet Crous by a 15 round decision. One month before losing the title, his brother had been murdered.

Ocasio, during his championship run, was able to buy a house in Trujillo Alto, where he maintained a large farm. He also participated in a Puerto Rican movie, playing a slave in the production.

In 1986, he made a comeback, winning two fights including a 10 round decision over former world champion Dwight Muhammad Qawi in Atlantic City. The crowd jeered Ocasio for his negative style, but it was the intelligent strategy to use on a short bomber like Qawi. He attempted to regain his world championship against Evander Holyfield in Marseille, France, but lost by a knockout in 11 rounds.

Return to Heavyweight

He returned to the heavyweight division in 1988, defeating Pierre Coetzer in South Africa, but losing the decision in a rematch. After this fight he was relegated to trialhorse status.

In 1989 he made Ray Mercer look bad, losing an 8 round decision. In 1990 he dropped decisions to Tyrell Biggs and Bruce Seldon, then travelled to the UK for two fights losing an 8 round decision to Lennox Lewis and scoring an upset when stopping Jess Harding in 8 rounds. Ocasio then travelled to Australia, where he was outpointed by the erratic Mike (The Bounty) Hunter.

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