Rubén Darío Palacios|
(May 22, 1963 - November 14, 2003) Colombia
Often wrongly spelled as Palacio, he was born in La Sierra, Antioquia. Palacios tried unsuccessfully to win a world title on 3 occasions and never gave up on his dream, even when he had very low points in his career. He fought 11 years before surprisingly winning the World Boxing Organization title in England with an 8 round kayo of British star Colin McMillan on 9-26-1992.
Ironically, when he returned to England to defend his title, Palacios was stripped of his title after testing HIV+ in April 1993, and barred from further fighting in London. He retired with a 45-11-2 (19 KO) record.
WBO Championship Committee president, Ed Levine, stated, "We can't risk the life of another boxer by letting him fight... It's the kind of disease that can be spread via blood contact, and boxing is a sport where that is likely to happen."
Well, it could possibly be undestood the fact of barring him from active sport (as he is deemed a real threat to his opponents, while his fists are not!!!), but why stripping him of his title?
After relinquishing the belt, the former champion's life was a tragic downward spiral. He was arrested November 6, 1994 at Miami International Airport on drug trafficking charges in the USA and spent four years in jail.
Palacios died of AIDS in a hospital in Medellin, Colombia on Friday. At the time of his death, Ruben Palacio was a few weeks short of his 41st birthday.