Jose Ribalta is a champion

06/18/2014 6:23 PM

06/18/2014 6:23 PM

Re the June 21 story Former heavyweight Jose Ribalta set to join Florida Boxing Hall of Fame: I first met Jose “Nino” Ribalta in 1981 at the Golden Gloves Tournament in Coconut Grove. I was knocked out by five-time champion Larry Byrd, and Ribalta knocked out Reggie Neal. Ribalta went on to a successful professional boxing career in which he had 56 bouts and fought 12 world heavyweight champions, including Mike Tyson and Vitali Klitschko. I kickboxed and had 66 matches and fought Jean-Claude Van Damme.

In 2011, Ribalta and I met again. I was teaching ESOL at the Miami Beach Adult Education Center at Fienberg-Fisher Elementary School, and Ribalta was the security officer. Ribalta is a credit to boxing to the community. He is a champion inside and outside of the ring. He deserves his induction into the Hall of Fame. I’m proud to say that I know him.

Sherman ‘Big Train’ Bergman,

Miami Beach

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