16. Wilfredo Gómez Vs Lupe Pintor
December 3, 1982
New Orleans, Louisiana
Venue: The Superdome
After losing to Salvador Sanchez in his quest to win a 126-pound title, Wilfredo Gómez went back down to 122 pounds to continue defending a world title that he had held since 1977. Once again he continued the Puerto Rican-Mexican rivalry by defending his WBC Super Bantamweight title against the reigning WBC Bantamweight Champion Lupe Pintor. The 27-year-old Pintor held his 118-pound champion for over three years and was attempting to win his second world title. In doing so, he would have to beat the 26-year-old Gómez, the greatest 122 pound fighter of all-time and on the short list for the greatest Puerto Rican fighter of all-time.
Gómez, like fellow countrymen Carlos Ortiz and Miguel Cotto, was a boxer-puncher. He would adjust his style to whatever his opponent’s style was. Because Sanchez was a boxer, Gómez became an aggressive fighter who tried to cut off the ring and engage Sanchez in exchanges. Since Pintor was your traditional Mexican brawler, Gómez would attempt to box from the outside and give Pintor angles. Gómez boxed brilliantly for the first two rounds, landing his jab and great right hand several times. Gómez had one of the greatest right hands in boxing history. That right hand would hurt Pintor early in the third round. For the entire first half of the round, Gómez pummeled Pintor against the ropes, landing several punishing blows. Then, midway through the round, Pintor hurt Gómez with a left hook, and the rest of the round saw both fighters in one heated exchange after another.
Gómez went back to boxing from the outside the following two rounds. He controlled the action with his jab, although Pintor was able to land a few hard right hands. Round six saw Pintor lure Gómez into a brawl, which resulted in Pintor stunning Gómez several times to both the head and body. Late in the round, referee Arthur Mercante penalized Gómez a point for blatantly hitting Pintor with an elbow. Rounds seven and eight saw Gómez go back to boxing and once again control the action in the center of the ring. However, both of his eyes were very swollen.
Early in the ninth round, referee Mercante deducted a point from Pintor for a low blow. Then both fighters engaged in a phone booth war that was completed dominated by Gómez. The slugfest continued in the 10th, with Gómez out-punching Pintor two-to-one. Pintor’s left eye was all but completely shut. Then in the 11th, it was all Gómez as he landed one devastating combination after another, hurting Pintor several times.
The 12th round was an exercise in organized brutality. Gómez jumped on Pintor at the very beginning of the round and hurt him with a sharp combination. He then gave Pintor a brutal beating against the ropes for the next two minutes. Then, Pintor hurt Gómez with a late rally and had Gómez against the ropes when the round ended. At this point, both men were completely exhausted and their faces both looked like they had been hit by a subway train.
Gómez wisely went back to boxing from the outside in round 13. This helped him get his bearings and had an already exhausted Pintor even more fatigued by having to chase Gómez around the ring. In the 14th, Gómez once again continued boxing and was landing at will. Finally, Gómez knocked down Pintor with a vicious left hook to the body. After getting up at eight, Pintor was trapped in the ropes and Gómez finished him off with two left hooks. Gómez had won a war of attrition.
Three years later, Pintor would finally win the WBC 122 title but only held it for five months before losing it and then retiring from boxing at the age of 30. Inexplicably, Pintor made a comeback eight years later. Woefully washed up at the age of 38, Pintor lost five of his seven comeback fights before finally retiring for good at the age of 40. Since his retirement, Pintor has operated a boxing school in Mexico City. He is one of the great warriors to ever come out of Mexico.
After successfully defending his 122 pound title for a record 17th time against Pintor, Gómez relinquished the title and moved up to 126. On March 31, 1984 he defeated fellow countryman Juan LaPorte to win the WBC Featherweight title. He only held it for a little over seventh months as he would lose it in his hometown to Ghanan legend Azumah Nelson by 11th round knockout. Six months later Gómez moved up to 130 pounds and won the WBA World Jr. Lightweight title, once again in his hometown, by controversial decision over reigning champion Rocky Lockridge. Gómez was a shell of his former self against Lockridge and would lose the title in his very first defense, getting knocked out by the unheralded Alfredo Layne. After knocking out two stiffs, Gómez retired in 1989 at the age of 33.