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Ex-Boxing Champion Esteban DeJesus, Drug Addict Who Had AIDS, Dies at 37

May 13, 1989|Associated Press

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Esteban DeJesus, an outstanding lightweight who fought in the shadow of Roberto Duran during the 1970s, is dead at 37.

DeJesus, a former champion, died Thursday after being hospitalized since March.

De Jesus, who had publicly admitted he was a drug addict, contracted AIDS during the early 1980s while serving a life sentence in the Rio Piedras State Penitentiary for the fatal shooting of a teen-ager in 1981.

He died less than two months after Puerto Rico Gov. Rafael Hernandez Colon commuted his sentence when it was disclosed that the ex-champion had AIDS. DeJesus was released from prison on the condition he remain in a clinic, which specializes in treating AIDS patients and drug rehabilitation.

DeJesus fought Duran three times and was the first and only man to beat the Panamanian during the '70s. He knocked Duran down in the first round and scored a unanimous decision in a 10-round non-title fight Nov. 17, 1972.

In their other meetings, both title bouts, Duran won by knockout in 1974 and '78.

DeJesus, who was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, on Aug. 2, 1951, compiled a 57-5 record with 32 knockouts in a career that began in 1969 and ended in 1980.

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