At the last week two huge losses came over South Africa. On December 5 pasted away the legendary President, Nelson Mandela, but just two days later died also the one of the greatest boxers and athletes of the country, Baby Jake Matlala.
Jacob Matlala was born January 8, 1962, in Gauteng, SAR. It is not wonder how Jake earned his ringname- Baby, with the height of only 4'10 ft he still be the shortest world champion in the boxing history. Matlala won and defended for numerous times the national and IBA and WBU world titles, but the most prestigous success came to Jake with the two WBO champion belts at light-flyweight and flyweight. The most notable wins Matlala had against the two Scottishmans, Pat Clinton and Paul Ware, and, of course, against the famous American, Michael Carbajal, in 1997. As the professional fighter, Matlala spent on the ring 22 years, his last fight came in 2002, at the age of 40. And the champion's belt of this fight Jake presented to his friend, The President Nelson Mandela.
Baby Jake Matlala is considered as one of the greatest South African sports person. In 2004, South African Broadcasting Co-orporation voted Matlala in the 100 Greatest South Africans. Jake Matlala died on December 7, 2013, at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital. The champion had been admitted to hospital on numerous occasions over the past few years with complications related to pneumonia. Baby Jake was only 51!