Former lightweight titleholder Javier Jauregui, who was in numerous action-packed fights during a 25-year professional career, died Wednesday in Guadalajara, Mexico. He was 40.
Jauregui had a stroke Tuesday and died the next day, according to Golden Boy Promotions, which was a fledgling company when Jauregui became one of its first world champions in 2003.
"He was a great champion, and I remember him as a nice and polite young man outside the ring," Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer said.
Jauregui, who turned pro in 1988, retired in 2010 but made a one-fight comeback in January, scoring a third-round knockout victory.
He spent his career mainly as a second-tier contender, facing numerous good opponents through the years but usually coming up short against them. In 2000, he secured his first world title fight but was knocked out in the first round in Brazil while challenging for a junior lightweight title against Brazilian star Acelino "Popo" Freitas.
Three years later, Jauregui (54-17-2, 37 KOs) scored his biggest victory, stopping the late Leavander Johnson in the 11th round at the Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles in November 2003 to win a vacant lightweight world title. In his first defense, in May 2004, Jauregui lost the belt by majority decision to Julio Diaz in San Diego.
With a three-fight losing streak, he retired after being stopped in the eighth round in February 2010 by Ruslan Provodnikov, who went on to win a world title.
Other than his world title victory, Jauregui's most notable victories were his two 10th-round knockout wins in Mexican featherweight title fights against Jose Luis Castillo in 1994 and '96. Castillo went on to win the lightweight world title and was one of the top fighters in the world for a few years.
Jauregui was close to former junior middleweight titlist Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and his manager, Chepo Reynoso. Alvarez's brother, Ricardo, fights on this weekend's Golden Boy card at the Alamodome, but Schaefer said Alvarez and Reynoso have delayed their trip to San Antonio until Saturday because of Jauregui's death.
"He was one of our first world champions," Schaefer said of Jauregui. "Very sad. We will do a 10-count [in his honor] on Saturday."