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No Fly In The Soup So Far
Jack McCallum
October 19, 1981
The Ayala family has had its ups and downs but Tony Jr., 18, is undaunted and undefeated
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October 19, 1981

No Fly In The Soup So Far

The Ayala family has had its ups and downs but Tony Jr., 18, is undaunted and undefeated

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According to a newspaper report, the girl's suffering was eased by a substantial cash payment. "We paid a large amount of money to get out of it," Tony Sr. told the Dallas Times Herald. "I won't say how much. But Bob Arum needed a commitment from us for television. So he says, 'Pay the damn girl off.' We paid X amount of dollars, and that's actually all they were looking for."

Tony Jr. says he no longer touches liquor, and insists he has avoided the drug trap that ensnared Mike. He still has a little trouble with automobiles—he refers to himself as "one of San Antonio's leading scofflaws"—but he also is quick to add that "some of my best friends are policemen now. Honest."

This isn't to say that Ayala is now a model citizen in and out of the ring. Last January he knocked down Jose Luis Baltazar in the second round, then spit on him because Baltazar allegedly insulted him before the bout. He felt he had been insulted by Jerry (Schoolboy) Cheatham, too, preceding their June 25 bout in Houston, so several times before the fight even started, his handlers literally had to hold him back. Cheatham went down in the sixth, and to this day it's Torito's favorite on the videotape player; on the other hand, he recently dozed off during a replay of his 10-rounder with Camacho.

But the moscas keep buzzing the caldo. Ayala Sr. worries that Tony will drift away like Mike and Sammy, and some boxing people are concerned that Ayala Sr. shouldn't be so closely involved with his son's boxing career.

But not Torito. "The day my dad isn't in my corner is the day I don't fight anymore," he says. "I've had other trainers tell me it isn't good. I tell them it is good." And for now Torito's stated goal is at one with his father's. "I want to make enough money to keep the family close," he says, "and build a place where we can all be together."

They never seemed closer than on the night of Torito's knockout of Baquedano in Vegas. After the fight the son sat on a bench and the father stood beside him as half a dozen reporters asked questions. "Yes, he's still got some baby fat," said Tony Sr., a smile lighting up his pudgy face. "But he's still a baby. He's my baby." Torito looked up, smiled and leaned his head against his father's leg. The old man reached out and cupped his son's face with a chunky hand. Men without dreams, amigo, are nothing.

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