PUERTO RICO has produced many outstanding fighters, but arguably the best is Wilfredo Gomez – and that’s ahead of Wilfred Benitez, Felix Trinidad and Miguel Cotto.
Gomez held the WBC super-bantamweight title from May 1977 to early 1983, making a record 17 defences for the division. He didn’t lose the title in the ring, but relinquished to move to featherweight, where he became WBC champ. And he would eventually hold the WBA belt title in a third weight class, super-feather, when clearly past his best.
If he didn’t become a global superstar, it was probably because the 8st 10lbs class was still only a year old when he first became world champion, and many took it lightly as an “in between” weight. And when Wilfredo first stepped up to 9st, against Mexican Salvador Sanchez in 1981, he was dropped and stopped in eight rounds. But at his best he was a formidable fighter. His nickname of “Bazooka” suggests one-punch knockout power, but in fact Gomez overwhelmed opponents with blazing combinations of hurtful, accurate blows.