Jose Manuel Ibar Urtain

19.10.06 - By Jim Amato: A major player in the heavyweight title picture in the early 1970's. The native of Spain turned pro in 1968. He was the rage in Europe winning his first 30 fights by knockout including a win over Peter Weiland to capture the European heavyweight title. Finally, rugged German Jurgen Blin took Urtain the fifteen round route but lost the verdict. Urtain's first loss was by a low blow disqualification to Alfredo Vogrig.

On November 10, 1970, Urtain met the ever popular Brit Henry Cooper in London. "Ol' Enry" withstood Urtain's early aggression and then used his masterful left hook to halt Urtain in the ninth. Urtain was extremely strong but his boxing limitations were now exposed.

In 1971, Urtain was held to a draw by veteran journeyman Mariano Echevarria. In his next fight, Jose was stopped by the clever Gregorio "Goyo" Peralta. To his credit, Urtain came back to regain the European title by blasting out Jack Bodell in two rounds.

In 1972, Urtain was out-slicked by the clever Joe "King" Roman over ten rounds. The "King" used this win as a springboard to getting a 1973 title shot against George Foreman. That ended in one disastrous round for Roman. Next, Urtain would lose hi European title in a rematch with Jurgen Blin.

Urtain would come back and beat Vincente Rondon, a draw in a rematch with Roman and a KO over Richard Dunn. Then he would be stopped by Rocky Campbell and Alberto Lovell. Those losses pretty much ended Urtain's run as a viable contender.

Alfredo Evangelista became Spain's #1 heavyweight, taking Urtain out in 1976. In his last shot at glory in 1977, Urtain met Jean Pierre Coopman for the vacant European title. It was over in four and so was Urtain's career.

Jose ended up with a respectable record of 56-11-4. He had 42 stoppage victories. I have the tape of his loss to Henry Cooper. Although outclassed in the end, the clever Cooper, Urtain was better then I expected. I do believe with high profile trainers and quality sparring partners he could have gone to another level. The best comparison I can make is that he was an Oscar Bonavena in the rough. Too bad he never got the polish.

Article posted on 20.10.2006

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