These photos were shot in July 1978. The photo to the right shows boxing trainer and coach Canto Robledo very animated as his gives advice and (below) shouts instructions to his fighter in the ring.
Canto Robledo was born in 1913 in Tyron, New Mexico, and moved to Pasadena with his family 10 years later.
By the time he was 19, he won the Pacific Bantamweight Championship and was ranked as a world contender.
Just two years later his boxing career was over. Detached retinas in both eyes left him completely blind after several operations proved unsuccessful.
Years of depression followed, but he was able to lift himself up eventually and in 1940 began training local Pasadena boys in the art of pugilism.
He made history in 1949 when he was the first totally blind person to receive his professional trainer’s license in the sport of boxing. He established Crown City Boxing Stables that same year, serving as a mentor to young boys, and the Pasadena Police Department referred many wayward youngsters to his gym for guidance, discipline and structure. He also sponsored amateur boxing shows at John Muir High School, Pasadena High School and Pasadena City College.
Shortly before he passed away in 1999 at age 86 from complications of a stroke, the World Boxing Organization awarded him a replica of the Pacific Bantamweight Championship belt that he had won but never received for his win over Speedy Dado.
There’s an interesting 1985 Los Angeles Times feature about Canto Robledo here.
Just over a week ago the Pasadena City Council approved a memorial to honor Canto Robledo at Villa-Parke Community Center.
The memorial will feature a 37- by 25-inch bronze wall relief, and and an adjoining 10- by 16-inch plaque will explain Robledo’s accomplishments and contributions in detail.
Many thanks to Los Angeles Public Library.
Copyright © 2009 Ann Erdman
Ann Erdman is happily retired after decades of loyal service to the City of Pasadena as Public Information Officer. Her blog can be found at AnnErdman.blogspot.com.