A Look At Robert “Pikin” Quiroga
Oct. 10, 1969 – Aug. 16, 2004
Robert "Pikin" Quiroga grew up with
three siblings, a sister Rosa Elia, and two brothers, Epifanio
and Alejandro. His parents
are Elidia Solis and Epifanio Quiroga and his stepfather is Raymond
P. Solis. He graduated from Memorial High School in 1987.
love for boxing was second only to his love for his two daughters,
Crystal Marie and Catheryne
Elidia. After his boxing
career ended, he became a team leader at Center for Health Services,
where he assisted troubled and handicapped children.
In November of 2000 Robert took on a new challenge
and began a career in car sales, working with Red McCombs. He quickly
himself as a top salesman, winning Salesman of the Month awards
four times in 2002, five times in 2003, and five times in 2004.
In 2003 he was named Salesman of the Year.
But Robert is known to the world as one of
the pre-eminent super flyweight boxers in the history of the sport.
A professional boxer aspires to become world champion in his weight
being celebrated as a great fighter with heart, courage and passion
in the ring comes to but a few and Robert was one of those fighters.
His exploits in the ring were many but his
personality, his desire to be the best and his love of family
is what separated Robert from many ring pugilists. His life outside
the ring characterized the type of person Robert was – a
champion, in and out of the ring.
Here are but a few highlights from the storied
career of Robert “Pikin” Quiroga:
April 24, 1990 With
an impressive 14-0 record, Robert traveled to Sunderland, England
to challenge Juan Polo Perez for the International Boxing Federation
Super Flyweight title. The fans at the Crowtree Leisure Centre
found out what the fans at Sunken Gardens and Freeman Coliseum
already were aware of, they were watching a determined fighter
on his way to making his dream a reality. Robert scored a unanimous
decision to claim the title, thus becoming the first boxer from
San Antonio to win a coveted world championship. Robert received
a hero's welcome upon his arrival in San Antonio.
October 6, 1990 Robert
made his first defense of his title against Vuyani Nene. The
fight was in Pagliara, Italy. Always a boxer on the offense,
Robert gave Nene no chance as he stopped Nene in the fourth
round. The win solidified his stature as a true champion with
the mindset to stay that way for some time.
January 26, 1991 Again,
San Antonio fight fans would have to wait to see their hometown
hero fight as champion as Robert made his second title defense
in Italy, this time in Capo D’Orlando’s Pallazza
dello Sport. This time his opponent was Vincenzo Belcastro. Two
judges scored the 12-round bout in favor of Robert by scores
of 120-110 and 117-111. A third judge favored Belcastro by a
115-114 margin. Robert had successfully defended his title for
a second time.
June 15, 1991 A
date that may live in the boxing annals forever. Robert’s
first title defense in his hometown proved to be a memorable
one. In a fight that was named Fight of the Year by Ring Magazine
and later the best ever super flyweight fight ever, Robert and “Kid” Akeem
Anifowoshe put on a display of raw courage for 12 brutal rounds
with Robert finally getting a unanimous decision victory. Anifowoshe
collapsed in the ring after the scores were read and was rushed
for emergency surgery to relieve pressure on the brain. Robert
had successful title defense No. 3.
February 15, 1992 Robert
returned to Italy for his fourth title defense, this time against
Manuel Mercado in Salerno. Not showing any ill effects from his
battle against Anifowoshe, Robert scored a unanimous decision.
July 11, 1992 Title
defense No. 5 finally landed Robert in the bright lights of
Las Vegas as he faced
Jose Ruiz at the Aladdin Hotel. Ruiz proved to be one of Robert’s
toughest opponents but the San Antonio boxer again showed his
heart and determination in escaping with a majority decision.
Five successful title defenses earned Robert a special ring
from the IBF.
January 16, 1993 Almost
three years after capturing his world title, Robert returned
to San Antonio for
defense in his hometown. A frenzied crowd greeted the local hero
but this time Robert fought a challenger in Julio Cesar Borboa
that was just as hungry and courageous as Robert had been more
than two years earlier. Not knowing the word “quit” Robert
fought a losing battle against Borboa and the ring physician
stopped the fight in the 12th round. In seven title fights, Robert
fought into the 12th round six times.
In what could be considered
an anomaly for boxers, Robert showed great class and loyalty
in a sport not known for either. He spent his entire amateur
and professional career with one trainer, Joe “Angel” Lopez.
The two developed more than a trainer-boxer relationship but
a father-son one. Lopez’s guidance and Robert’s
will to win have set the standard for future trainers and boxers
• For most of his career, Robert was
managed and promoted by Rich and Sandy Lander of San Antonio.
His title opportunity came under the Cedric Kushner banner and
he was later managed by the late Eddie Garcia.
• Local car dealer Ernesto Ancira was
instrumental in helping Robert late in his career. Ancira sponsored
the last fights in Robert's boxing career.
• Robert was inducted into the San
Antonio Sports Hall of Fame on February 1, 2002. His plaque
with his likeness hangs among the best athletes and businessmen
at the Alamodome. Robert is also an inductee of the Laredo Hispanic
Hall of Fame and the San Antonio based Latinos in Action Sports
Hall of Fame.