Shark Tale: Frankie Toledo stepped in for his brother to become featherweight champion of the world

Feature | Issue | Premium | 1 hour ago

Frankie Toledo tells Elliot Worsell about the night he accepted the title shot his brother, David, turned down to become Paterson’s first world champion

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Frankie Toledo beats Mbulelo Botile (Action Images / Richard Heathcote)

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ON April 6, 2001, Mbulelo
Botile knew he would defend his IBF featherweight title against a New Jersey
southpaw named Toledo but didn’t know which one. There was Frankie, the older
Toledo, and there was David, the younger Toledo. Both were in line for a shot and
both were aware Botile, the champion from South Africa, could grant only one
wish at the Texas Station Casino in Las Vegas.

Initially the job
was offered to David, the less experienced of the two. However, management
problems left him feeling in the wrong frame of mind to challenge a champion
whose previous fight led to Paul Ingle, Botile’s opponent, ending up in a coma,
and Frankie, in tune with his sibling, sensed it. “Listen, man, this is an
opportunity for you,” he told David. “Take the fight. Forget about all your
issues and just go for it. You can’t turn it down.”

“I don’t know,”
said David. “I need to go away and think about it.”


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