The night of June 9, 1956, when both fighters faced each other in Luna Park, the shootings ended in José León Suárez, investigated and narrated by the journalist in his famous book.
Luna Park roared, as was the custom on those boxing Saturdays in the 1950s. And thousands of ears were magnetized to the radio, listening to the evening’s broadcast. Many, waiting for a victory of Eduardo Lausse, the man who with his campaign in the United States had built the legend of champion without crown. Others, waiting a sign that would never come.
That night of June 9, 1956, Lausse won. And many lost. Because the proclamation of the National Recovery Movement, which would encourage civilians to support the uprising of Generals Valle and Tanco. It was the night of the shootings in José León Suárez, the fact investigated and narrated by Rodolfo Walsh in “Operation Massacre”.
The South American middleweight title, which was vacant, was the reason that called the Corrientes ring and Bouchard to the Left handed, Argentine champion of the category, and the Chilean monarch Humberto Loayza, two men who had already faced each other three years ago at the Caupolicán Theater in Santiago. On that occasion, the fighter born in Villa Urquiza and raised in Lomas del Mirador had been on the verge of collapse in the second round, but had recovered and finished the job in the third with a left hook, his devastating blow.
The panorama in the country had changed a lot since that distant 1953. Nine months before this revenge, Juan Domingo Perón had been overthrown by the self-proclaimed Liberation Revolution, which had annulled the Constitution of 1949, had undertaken a harsh repression against the labor movement, had stolen the body of Eva Perón from the CGT headquarters and had even prohibited, by decree-law 4,161, any symbol linked to Peronism, including “the proper name of the deposed president, that of his relatives and the expressions’ Peronism ‘,’ Peronist ‘,’ justicialism ‘,’ justicialista ‘and’ third position ‘”.
Although Lausse had built his career with the support of the Peronist government, after the coup had not suffered persecution that other athletes suffered. His success, which had been consolidated from his excursions to the United States since 1953, by the hand of manager Charley Johnston, seemed to float on ideological differences.
After losing in September 1952 to the Cuban Kid Gavilán (then world welterweight champion), Lausse had chained 34 consecutive victories that had allowed him to reach third place in the middleweight rankings. But the chance to fight for the world crown had eluded him, even after a brilliant 1955.
During that year, the best of his career, he had achieved a bloody victory at Madison Square Garden against Ralph Tiger Jones, which came from beating Sugar Ray Robinson, had taken revenge against Kid Gavilán at Luna Park and had beaten at Madison Gene Fullmer, who would later become a two-time world champion. Before that duel, they had assured him that, if he won, he would have a title shot against the then champion, Carl Bobo Olson.
But Olson gave up the crown a few days later to Robinson and the chance was extinguished. To top it all, in January 1956, Lausse tied with Milo Savage at Madison and a month later lost on points in a split decision with Bobby Boyd at Chicago Stadium. After that loss, which he attributed to a Boyd header in the third round, which caused a wound to one of his eyebrows, Lausse he returned to Buenos Aires disappointed and would not return to the United States until 1960.
His first fight in the country since the return would be against Loayza, on the freezing night of June 9, 1956. A few hours before the Left handed and the Life To rise to the scale, hundreds of union leaders had been arrested. The de facto government headed by General Pedro Eugenio Aramburu had information that a conspiracy was brewing and had decided to weaken it, but not prevent it.
Sure enough, on fight night the National Recovery Movement began an armed uprising to “reestablish popular sovereignty and tear the Nation from the chaos and anarchy to which it has been led by a despotic minority perched and sustained by terror and violence in power,” according to the proclamation signed by the general Juan Jose Valle and Raul Tanco, who were in command of the uprising.
“The painful hours that the Republic lives and the anguished cry of its People, subjected to the crudest and most ruthless tyranny, they have decided us to take up arms to reestablish in our country the empire of freedom and justice under the protection of the Constitution and the laws, “the text added.
The uprising began around 9:30 p.m. at the Campo de Mayo NCO School, led by colonels Alcibiades Eduardo Cortines and Ricardo Salomón Ibazeta. Meanwhile, in La Plata, a company of the 7th Mechanized Infantry Regiment led by Captain Jorge Morganti He rebelled and tried to take over the Command of the Second Army Division and the Police Department under the orders of the colonel. Oscar Lorenzo Cogorno.
These were later joined by other points of rebellion in the Palermo II Regiment, under the leadership of Sergeant Isauro Costa; and the Army Mechanics School, whose rebel group was commanded by Major Hugo Quiroga. There were minor outbreaks in Santa Fe, Rosario, Rafaela, Río Negro and Viedma.
There were also civil groups that would join the revolutionary movement. The signal for them had to come through the radio just when the fight between Lausse and Loayza was about to start, which was scheduled for 11 p.m. and would be broadcast by Radio Argentina, with stories by Bernardino Veiga, and by Radio El Mundo, whose broadcast was in charge of Fioravanti.
At the appointed time and when the thermometer read barely 4 degrees in the city of Buenos Aires, the Chilean, who was 30 years old and with a record of 22 wins, 13 losses and 2 draws, entered the ring. It was the fifth presentation in the country of the fighter from Iquique, who had also fought in Brazil, Uruguay, Peru and Venezuela.
He was immediately followed by Lausse, who was 28 years old and already treasured the nickname of KO. Reasons were not lacking: he had achieved 54 of his 65 wins before the limit (he also recorded 7 stumbles and 2 draws). When he raised his left arm to greet the crowd, a thunderous howl came down from the stands. The screaming traveled through the radio. Those who listened with the expectation of a triumph of the Argentine fighter would soon have news. Those who listened while waiting for other news, no.