Rodrigo “Rocky” Valdez, the legendary Colombian boxer and two-time world champion died on Tuesday at the age of 70 in his home town of Cartagena.
Valdez died of diabetes and coronary artery complications, local media reported.
The sportsman was Colombia’s second boxing world champion. He won his first world middleweight title in 1974 in Monte Carlo, beating the American Bennie Briscoe with a T.K.O in the seventh round.
He later lost this crown in 1976 but went on to win it back in a rematch against Bennie Briscoe in 1977 when he added the WBA belt to his name, making him the undisputed king of the middleweight division.
Valdez began his career in the coastal city of Cartagena, making his debut at the age of 17. As a professional, Valdez fought in 73 fights, winning 63, 43 of which were by knockout, losing eight and drawing two.
He retired in 1980.
The mayor of Cartagena and former sports journalist Manuel Vincente Duque confirmed the former world champion’s death saying “Cartagena and Colombia wake up to sad news. Champion Rodrigo Valdez, an example of dignity and honor in sport, died.”
His funeral will be held in Lorduy Funeral Home in Cartagena, bringing together family, friends and admirers to pay tribute to the former champion.