Boxer Jacob Matlala, 51, a Mandela favorite, dies
Jacob ”Baby Jake” Matlala, a four-time world champion in the
flyweight and junior flyweight divisions and one of Nelson
Mandela’s favorite fighters, has died. He was 51.
The death of the South African boxer Saturday was announced by
family spokesman Ray McCauley.
Matlala died two days after Mandela, who attended Matlala’s last
bout in 2002. At the time, the boxer gave the former president one
of his belts.
Matlala’s former promoter, Rodney Berman, wrote on Twitter:
”Another great fighter has died … Go well little man, you’ll be
Standing just 4-foot-10 1/2, Matlala’s disregard for his size
and ferocious punching speed made him one of South Africa’s
favorite athletes. During a 22-year career, he won flyweight and
junior flyweight belts for the WBO as well as the IBA light
flyweight title and WBU junior flyweight crown.