Young Manuel Quintero

Boxing in Ybor City

Nicknamed the “Daddy of the Lightweights,” Young Manuel Quintero made a name for himself in Ybor City and Brought Boxing to Tampa.

Young Manuel Quintero made his boxing debut on July 25, 1924 when he defeated Young Dobber. Throughout the latter part of the 1920s Quintero took boxing by storm, going 19-1-4 in 1926 and winning the southern lightweight title in 1928.

One of the biggest matches of Quintero’s career came against Jimmy McLarnin to become the number one contender for Andy Chaney’s lightweight title. Before challenging McLarnin, Quintero defeated Louis “Kid” Kaplan and “Baby” Joe Gans to get his opportunity to become number one contender. Quintero showed how tough he was during a match with Relampago Saguaro where he hit Saguaro so hard he broke through the leather of the glove and lacerated one of his fingers on his left hand. Quintero fought through the pain to finish the bout and win the match.

A 1929 article from the Tampa Daily Times described Quintero as “Dixie’s leading lightweight” after he ended Gans’ winning streak. When he won the lightweight title, the city held a celebration for him in the Cuban club to honor his accomplishments.

Most of Quintero’s home matches either took place at the Cuban club or the Benjamin Field Arena at the armory in Tampa. He trained at Doc Myers’ private gym where he would always maintain his fitness and train to face some of the toughest competitors such as Kaplan, Gans, Chaney, and McLarnin. Located on 5th Avenue, Doc Meyers’ gym was open from 1923 to 1940. After closing in 1940, the gym was left vacant and abandoned for a few years until it was torn down. The land remained vacant for many years until it was turned into a parking garage. Today the spot is now the Centro Ybor parking garage and there is no trace if the gym.

Young Manuel Quintero retired from boxing in 1935 after an eleven-year career. He competed in a total of 183 bouts that went 1473 rounds. Quintero finished his career with a record of 140 wins (49 by Knock Out), 21 Losses, 18 draws, and 4 no contests. After Quintero retired, boxing declined in popularity in Ybor City. While his career isn’t well known today, Young Manuel Quintero was one of the best boxers in his era, and put Tampa on the map when it came to prizefighting.