March 11th, 2014 By Pedro Fernandez
San Francisco, CA- We have talked about how Larry Holmes had a hard road to hoe in following Muhammad Ali. That being said, if there was ever a main event that could not live up to the semi-main, it was Thomas Hearns & Wilfred Benitez having to enter the ring after Wilfredo Gomez and Lupe Pintor. The exact date was December 3, 1982, Ronald Reagan was in the White House, with the wirehaired wonder Don King promoting this card at the Louisiana Superdome.
MEET LUPE PINTOR FOLKS
Before we get to the fight, let’s water the plant first. Lupe Pintor was a “rugged” Mexican fighter who went 12-1, 9 KOs in Mexico before coming to the Great Western Forum and meeting Albert Davila in February 1976. In a battle of bantamweights that would both go on to win World titles, Davila prevailed via unanimous decision.
INTER STABLE FIGHT WITH ZARATE
Losing a couple of decisions along the way, Pintor was matched with the great Carlos Zarate (54-1, 53 KOs, only loss to Gomez) in Las Vegas on June 3, 1978. I believe they were both managed by Cuyo Hernandez, and Zarate a top five P4P guy at the time was not going to re-sign with Hernandez. After 15 rounds, judges Harold Buck and Art Lurie both saw it 143-142 Pintor, while Bob Martin scored the fight, are you ready, 145-133 for Zarate. That’s 12-3 in rounds! Feeling he had been screwed, Carlos would retire and not fight again for seven years.
BEAT THE SUPERFLY & KILLED THE BRIT
Six months later, Pintor in what his people thought was just a non-title “work” fight, got worked and ended up a TKO 6 loser to 18-14 Manuel Vasquez. Still champ in 1980, this after besting Alberto “Superfly” Sandoval (TKO 12) he had to face Johnny Owen (19-2) at the Forum. The thin as a rail Owen, a Brit, down twice in the 12th, the last from which he never got up from. Owen would die afterward. The referee in that fight, chastised by writer Jack Fiske for going to Puerto Rico the next day to work a fight, this as Owen lay dying, was none other than Marty Denkin.
THE FORUM WAS THE TRUE MECCA OF BOXING THEN
After getting revenge on the aforementioned Albert Davila, beating him on points, again in the then home of the L. A. Lakers, the truly Great Western Forum, Pintor began a roll. Five wins later, three being title defenses, Pintor moved up to 122 lbs. to face the then 37-1-1, 37 KOs, Wilfredo Gomez.
GOMEZ WON THE TITLE WITH 16 FIGHTS
A Puerto Rican of iconic status, Gomez had massacred Mexican fighters, one of which was an ascending bantamweight champ named Carlos Zarate, whom he stopped brutally in five fistic frames in 1978. Gomez had claimed the WBC 122 lb. belt at just 16-0, 16 KOs with a KO in 12 of Dong-Kyun Yum (50-2-6) of Korea. With 14 straight defenses, all KOs, Gomez was matched with Salvador Sanchez in August 1981.
EXCUSES OR NOT, SAL BEAT GOMEZ DOWN
Whether he trained, had sex the night before, did Cocaine, all of these things were bantered about after he failed to make weight (126) for Sanchez, Gomez fought gamely considering Sal broke his cheekbone when he dropped him in the opening stanza. Losing a TKO 8, Gomez, who claimed to not be able to make 122 anymore, was back at the weight defending three fights later stopping future WBC 122 lb. champ Juan “Kid” Meza in six.
TOMORROW PART III
Two fights later, Gomez is matched with Pintor. Now that I’ve brought you up to date on these two Hall of Fame fighters, tomorrow we’ll go through 14 rounds of pugilistic mayhem. Remember, you are at www.RingTalk.com Come back for Part III Wednesday night for Thursday morning.