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RUBEN WILTS A ROSE
Jack Tobin
September 01, 1969
A swinging Mexican with a ring in his shoe, a car on his mind and one of the hardest left hooks anywhere takes the bantamweight championship from Australian aborigine Lionel Rose at Los Angeles
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September 01, 1969

Ruben Wilts A Rose

A swinging Mexican with a ring in his shoe, a car on his mind and one of the hardest left hooks anywhere takes the bantamweight championship from Australian aborigine Lionel Rose at Los Angeles

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Rose had to content himself with his $100,000 share of the purse. Olivares, being the challenger, would get only $30,000, plus the kind of fanatical admiration that fills the dressing rooms of winners.

"I knew I had it from the second round," he managed to say in Spanish, helped by a thousand or so unofficial interpreters surrounding him. "Rose is a great fighter, a great boxer, strong, quick. But I take care of him."

The television lights were now reflecting the dazzle of his gold-capped front teeth and Olivares was sullen no more. He babbled constantly as his handlers finally cut his gloves off, revealing solid hands that showed no hint of damage.

"They the difference," said Hernandez, pointing to the hands. "Mexicans work with their hands. Build houses, build buildings, dig, pound, work. Great strength. Great power."

Then off came a shoe and out dropped a worn gold ring that Olivares always puts there when he fights. It was given to him by his father, who is also his business manager. The family's system is a simple one. The father takes half of Ruben's money to invest as he sees fit. Ruben gets to invest the other half as he pleases, and there is never much doubt about how he pleases. Already from this purse has come a Corvette 427, a car to suit a champion. And, as the night wore on, Olivares kept shouting to anyone he thought he recognized, "Come, vacation with me. Acapulco. Great time. Great place! Come, I treat you to the works—wine, women, song."

One of his followers expressed some concern to Hernandez about Ruben's postfight plans.

"Do not worry," Olivares interrupted. "I know when to work and when to have fun. Before the fight I sweat. Now I play. See you in Acapulco."

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