January 19, 2009 – PONCE, Puerto Rico (AP) – Jose Torres, a former light heavyweight world champion and Olympic silver medalist, died Monday. He was 72. He died of a heart attack at his home in Ponce, his wife, Ramonita Ortiz, told The Associated Press. Torres won the light heavyweight title in 1965 by stopping Willie Pastrano at Madison Square Garden in New York. He made three title defenses before losing a close decision to Dick Tiger in 1966. He finished with a record of 41-3-1, with 29 knockouts. The mayor of Ponce, on the island’s southern coast, declared three days of mourning and ordered flags be flown at half-staff. “Puerto Rico has lost a great Puerto Rican, a very valiant person who aside from being a great athlete, was a great human being,” David Bernier, president of the U.S. territory’s Olympic committee, told radio station WKAQ. Torres began fighting when he joined the U.S. Army as a teenager. He won a silver medal as a light middleweight at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics while competing for the United States. He lost the title bout to Hungary’s Laszlo Papp. After retiring in 1969, he became a representative of New York’s Puerto Rican community, chaired the New York State Athletic Commission in the 1980s and served as supervisor for the World Boxing Organization. He also wrote two biographies – “Sting Like a Bee” on Muhammad Ali and “Fire and Fear” on Mike Tyson. Torres was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1997.