SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Esteban de Jesus of Puerto Rico, former world lightweight boxing champion, was ordered Friday to stand trial on a charge of first-degree murder in the shooting death of a young San Juan resident after a traffic dispute.
Judge Priscila Curet Cuevas of San Juan District Court found 'probable cause' against de Jesus, 29, after a preliminary hearing into the charge. She also committed the boxer for trial on a lesser charge of firearms violation but dismissed two charges of attempted murder.
Arraignment was set for Jan. 27 and the trial is scheduled to open Feb. 17.
DeJesus had been the only boxer ever to beat Panama's Roberto Duran in 74 fights before he was beaten by Sugar Ray Leonard in a World Boxing Council welterweight title fight in November. De Jesus was knocked out by Duran in two later fights when both were still lightweights.
DeJesus retired last year after moving up briefly as a junior welterweight.
The charges against him stem from a traffic incident in San Juan Nov. 27 in which de Jesus allegedly fired at the three occupants of another automobile whose traffic maneuvers had aroused his ire.
One of the occupants of the other car died three days later of his injuries.He was identified as Roberto Cintron Gonzalez, 18. The two other occupants of the car, whom de Jesus was accused of having attempted to murder, escaped unhurt.
DeJesus beat Duran in a non-title fight in 1972 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Later he won the WBC version of the lightweight title while Duran held the title of the rival World Boxing Association crown. Duran knocked out de Jesus in Las Vegas, Nev., to iunify the two titles in the division.
De Jesus retired after losing a bid to wrest the WBC junior welterweight crown from Saoul Mamby last year.
DeJesus had had several scrapes with the law previously in drug cases but had no convictions against him.