Samuel Serrano (born November 17, 1952), nicknamed Sammy and El Torbellino, is a Puerto Rican who won boxing's world junior lightweight championship twice.
Serrano, owner of long arms, began his career on October 29, 1969 with a four round decision win over Ramon Laureano. He built a fan base in Puerto Rico, campaigning there for his first 23 bouts, including winning and losing the Puerto Rican Featherweight title v.s Francisco Villegas. For his 24th bout, he traveled to Panama City, where he met future world Featherweight champion Ernesto Marcel, who beat him on points in 10 rounds. That would be his last defeat in a long time.
Professional boxing career
He then continued his winning ways, including a 10 round decision win over tough veteran Cocoa Perez and one win over former title challenger Diego Alcala, also by decision in 10. Serrano then travelled in 1976 to Honolulu, Hawaii, to meet reigning WBA world jr. Lightweight champion, the Filipino Ben Villaflor. By most writer's accounts, Serrano beat Villaflor, but he had to return home only with a 15 round draw (tie).
The WBA ordered an immediate rematch, and so on October 16 of the same year, Villaflor went to San Juan to defend his title for the second time vs. Serrano. Serrano beat Villaflor by using his ring technique to win 12 of the 15 rounds on each judges' scorecards. As life had it, Samuel Serrano was destined to become a world champion in front of his fans.
Serrano became a traveling champion, defending his title in places like Venezuela, Ecuador, South Africa, Japan (twice) and, of course, Puerto Rico. One of his defenses, against Julio Diablito Valdez, resulted in an after-fight brawl when Serrano was announced as winner by a unanimous decision and went to greet his rival but was received with a punch to the face. Serrano retaliated, and police intervention was needed. Both fighters were escorted to their dressing rooms by the police. But disaster struck for Serrano in Detroit on August 2 of 1980, when, after leading on all scorecards, he was struck by a Yasutsune Uehara right hand to the chin in round six, and lost his title by knockout to the Japanese. After that loss, he set his eyes on recovering his world title from the Japanese world champion, and so on April 9, 1981, they met again, this time in Wakayama, Japan. Serrano was more cautious this time, and didn't try to go for the knockout after building a points lead. Even though Uehara was fighting in his homeland, all judges agreed and gave Serrano more rounds than they gave Uehara, and Serrano the world title back by a fifteen round unanimous decision.
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