Inducted on November 11, 2010
HONOREE OSCAR SUAREZ – POSTHUMOUSLY
Oscar Suarez, a New Jersey native of Puerto Rican descent, rose to prominence in the late-90s through his work with former champions “Prince” Naseem Hamed and Acelino “Popo” Freitas.
He was born in Corozal, Puerto Rico and moved to the USA for good in 1981. He and his wife Marie lived in West Berlin, New Jersey. Suarez was the father of six children and the grandfather of fourteen more. As has been the case with a handful of top trainers (Teddy Atlas, Emanuel Steward, and Eddie Futch come to mind), Suarez was an accomplished amateur fighter who never turned pro.
He engaged in 89 amateur bouts and, after his last contest in 1981, was approached by the Hall of Fame trainer, Lou Duva about turning pro. But two broken collarbones and a fractured wrist ended that dream before Suarez reached the age of 20. “When I was coming up,” Suarez said, “my stepbrother Pedro Alindato [a somewhat successful pro featherweight in the ‘80s] and I didn’t have a trainer. We trained each other in Puerto Rico. I was always correcting guys in the gym. I guess God gave me that gift from an early age.
At the Lou Costello Gym in Paterson, New Jersey, Suarez began sharing that gift with some good fighters, such as Diego Rosario and the Toledo brothers, Frankie and David. Frankie went on to win the IBF Featherweight Championship of the World. Oscar’s mentor was a true gentleman, trainer Tommy Parks, best known for his long association with two-division world champion Bobby Czyz. Oscar was a fast learner and soon was on his own and he was in demand by some of the top boxers in the World.
In 1998, he trained Jerson Ravelo to a National Golden Glove Title. During his career, Oscar also trained such pro standouts as Omar Shieka, Jhonny Gonzalez, Agnaldo Nunes, José Reyes, Freddie Cadena and Archak TerMeliksetian, just to name a few. Soon several other name fighters, such as Johnny Tapia and Junior Featherweight Champion Joan Guzman were asking for his services.
Suarez had a reputation for caring for the safety of his fighters, even if it wasn’t the most popular thing to do. During the 2006 clash between his fighter Jhonny Gonzalez and Israel Vasquez, Suarez, sensing that Gonzalez’s health was at risk, threw in the towel in the tenth round to the objection of Gonzalez’s handlers and HBO commentator Larry Merchant. Gonzalez, who was winning the fight handily early on but was fading rapidly after suffering two knockdowns, was at the end of the line and only Suarez took note. Oscar was right and Gonzalez’s handlers and Larry Merchant were wrong, as Gonzalez would win his next 7 of 8 bouts and was still boxing to this day and that is thanks to Oscar.
Suarez had been dedicating his time to “El Elegante” Patrick Lopez, a two-time Venezuelan Olympic representative with a 14-1 professional record, before he passed away in September of 2008. The cause of death was attributed to complications from pancreatic cancer; he was only 47 years of age.
We not only lost a Great trainer, BUT we also lost a Great husband, father, grandfather and friend as well.