Baby Jake Matlala dead at 51.
Jacob "Baby Jake" Matlala, one of the legends of SA boxing, has died. Matlala, who held four "world" titles and two South African titles, died at the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital in Johannesburg on Saturday morning. He would have turned 52 on January 8. At 1.48m (4'10), he was the shortest world champion in history. He weighed 48.99 kg (108 lbs) when he was at the height of his career.
He retired with a professional record of 53-12-2, including 27 wins inside the distance, after holding the WBO flyweight, WBO junior flyweight, IBA junior flyweight and WBU junior flyweight belts. He also won the SA junior flyweight title twice.
I never followed this man's career as closely as I should have, but he's been a fixture of my image of boxing ever since I can remember.
Not to be grim but any word on what got him?
I am assuming it wasn't his life style based on this quote from the article
Matlala, a well-educated man, captured the imagination of South Africans at all levels with his sportsmanship and ready smile. He always said the secret of his success was that he never smoked, drank or used drugs. His success was because of his total dedication to boxing.
All I can find is a brief mention of a "Lung condition".
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