Before Manny Pacquiao, another boxer named Rolando Navarette dominated the Philippine headlines. His nickname, the "Bad Boy from Dadiangas," suited him; well known for his short fuse, Navarette was seen around the city of Dadiangas for his involvement in petty fights and brawls.
Navarette defeated Cornelius Boza Edwards on Aug. 29, 1981 to claim the WBC Superfeather Weight crown. He successfully defended his title against Choi Chung Il of Korea, but eventually lost the title to Rafael "Bazooka" Limon on May 29, 1982.
Due to his persona and bad boy image, he never received the same reception from the Filipinos as Pacquiao.
The loss of his title was just the beginning of a string of bad luck.
His wife abandoned him, he was financially broke, and a rape conviction in Hawaii landed him in prison.
Released on humanitarian grounds, Navarette's attempt of a comeback failed.
Currently, he relies on government help, alms, and contributions in order to meet his very basic, daily needs.
A reporter who interviewed the former champ noted:
"The champ is still well built for his age, although he's lost his mental faculty. He walks like a drunk boxer and spoke with a slur you can't comprehend."
Boxing has many notable and well reported success stories. The flip side remains to be seen. For every De La Hoya or Pacquiao, there must be a disproportionate number of former champs who have fallen from glory. Just ask Rolando Navarette.
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