An extremely clever boxer, New Orleans native Pastrano was trained by Hall of Famer Angelo Dundee and boxed in every weight division from welter to heavyweight.
He turned pro in 1951 and boxed predominantly in New Orleans and Miami Beach. In 1955, Pastrano bested Paddy Young, Rex Layne and Hall of Famer Joey Maxim among others. Over the next several years, Pastrano defeated Brian London, Tom McNeeley, and drew with Hall of Famer Archie Moore.
In 1963, he lost, drew, and won in a three-fight series with Wayne Thornton before challenging Harold Johnson on June 1, 1963 for the world light heavyweight title. Pastrano won a 15-round decision over Johnson to win the championship. In 1964 he successfully defended the crown twice (TKO 6 Gregorio Peralta and TKO 11 Terry Downes).
Pastrano lost his title to Jose Torres via 9th round TKO in Madison Square Garden in 1965 and promptly retired.
Pastrano once sparred with a young Cassius Clay and it is believed that Clay (later Muhammad Ali) incorporated some of Pastrano's style into his own repertoire.
Born: Nov. 27, 1935
Died: Dec. 6, 1997