The first instalment of ‘Criminals in Boxing’ begins with Antonio Ayala Jr who was once considered one of the hottest prospects in boxing but ended up being nothing more than a rapist, alcoholic, drug addict with a disturbed and distorted mind.
At just 15-years-old on December 23, 1978, Antonio (Tony) Ayala Jr was arrested for beating a girl repeatedly at a drive-in theatre toilet in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas.
While the case was pending Ayala Jr competed and won the National Golden Gloves in 1979 at the 165-pound limit.
After a 2-year wait his lingering aggravated rape charge was finally heard in court, where he was sentenced to 10-years in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated assault. Following an appeal he was released on a $10,000 bond and was given 10-days to file for a re-trial. During that period his 18-year-old victim accepted $40,000 with the agreement that she plead for leniency on her attacker. Ayala’s sentence was then overturned to 10-years’ probation instead.
Tony Ayala began his professional career in 1981, the following summer he featured in a cover story of Sports Illustrated as the rising star in boxing. Many respected experts in boxing where waxing lyrical of this tremendous young kid that will soon become a mega superstar.
His co-manager Lou Duva once said, “Forget Sugar Ray Leonard, forget Marvin Hagler and forget Mike Tyson. Rocky Marciano and Tony Ayala were the guys. Not even Muhammed Ali had it quite like Ayala.”
Bod Arum – although he would probably deny it now – called Ayala, “The best fighter he had ever seen.”
Angelo Dundee very rarely gets it so wrong but the legendary coach once said, “There’s no telling what he can do, he is going to be a World Champion.”
Ayala was living up to his hype as he blasted his way to a 22-0 record with 19 knockouts by November 1982, during which he was scheduled to fight the former welterweight world champion Roberto Duran. The fight never materialised due to a rehabilitation programme that he enrolled in to solve emotional problems with drugs and alcohol, although his admission to using heroin wasn’t made public until years later.
During the early hours of the morning on New Year’s Day in 1983 a highly intoxicated Ayala broke into his neighbours’ home and tied up his female victim before raping her at knife point. Not done with his horrifying ordeal Ayala woke up the victim’s roommate and threatened to kill both if she called the police before returning to his victim.
The roommate escape through her bedroom window and called for help. Ayala was later found and arrested by the New Jersey state police. Within 15-days Ayala was released on a $75,000 bond and eventually convicted of burglary, aggravated sexual assault, two counts of possession with a knife and terroristic threats.
At just 19-years-old and on the brink of superstardom Ayala was sentenced to 15-35 years where he served just the bare minimum of 16-years at Rahway State Prison and Trenton State Prison.
In April 1999, Ayala was released on parole and able to resume his boxing career at the age of 36. In less than a year, the clearly disturbed Ayala was back in a prison cell following an incident on December 12, 2000.
Once again Ayala broke into his neighbor’s house, this time a young student that he knew from his local gym with the clear intention of sexual assault. However, what this psychopath didn’t expect was that his victim would have a gun and wasn’t afraid to use it. Anticipating danger she shot him in the left shoulder as he went to make advances.
Disturbingly, another plea deal was agreed with Ayala accepting a charge of two counts of aggravated assault and served just 90-days at home with a tag and 10-years’ probation.
It wasn’t long until Ayala was arrested again, this time in 2002 for having sex with a 14-year-old minor on two separate occasions but on January 7, 2003 all charges were dropped. The young girl was accused of lying because of a previous case where she made up charges against her stepfather due to being mad at him.
Eleven months later on November 15, 2003 Ayala was pulled over by police for speeding and breaking his curfew, although was later released. One year later he was pulled over again and arrested for speeding, driving without a license, no proof of insurance, in possession of heroin and pornography. This time Ayala was finally sentenced to 10-years at a private Sanders Estes Unit for lower-level offenders in Venus, Southeast of Fort Worth.
Following the death of his father, just before his release from prison in 2014, Ayala assisted his brothers in the running of the Zarzamora Street Gym in San Antonio. It was in that same gym that on May 12, 2015 Ayala was found deceased with the cause of death confirmed as a heroin drug overdose.
They say you should never wish death on anybody, not even your worst enemy, but I can honestly say with a clear conscience that this piece of dogsh*t does not deserve to breath the same air as us so good riddance!
Part 2 of ‘Criminal’s in Boxing’ will be available next week and will feature a completely different story about another disturbed individual.
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