July in Boxing History (Part 2 of 3)
By Teodoro Medina Reynoso
Fri, 10 Jul 2020
Wilfredo Gomez (R).
Hopefully, July 2020 will see the continuous and steady return of professional boxing especially in the United States after the still ongoing coronavirus pandemic forced a full stop to sport events in general, and many other routinary human endeavors and activities for that matter, last March.
Actually pro boxing has made an auspicious comeback in the US a week earlier with American Joshua Franco winning the WBA super flyweight regular title over Australia's Andrew Moloney last June 24, 2020. That will go down in boxing history as the first world championship fight to be held at the end of the global pandemic lockdown.
The current month though will still be characterized by the general wait and see attitude by both organizers and fans in the US and elsewhere as authorities attempt to ease boxing and sports as a whole to a new normal in line with established health and medical protocols.
Thus far, the current month has seen publicized fights involving some prominent names as ex two division world champion Jose Pedraza as well as the up and coming Jose Zepeda, Robeisy Ramirez and Luis Alberto Lopez who all won against mostly rated opponents.
If plans fall into place, July will see another world championship bout involving Jamel Herring defending his WBO super featherweight crown versus Jonathan Equendo on July 14 and the return to the ring of heavyweights Carlos Takam and Agit Kabayel as well as Filipinos Reymart Gaballo and John Vincent Moralde, among others.
Could this July very well usher into the holding of bigger fights by the last trimester of 2020?
Part 2-July in Boxing History
This second installment covers major fights fought between July 11-20 of various years involving such big names of those times as Wilfredo Gomez, Matthew Saad Muhammad, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, Pipino Cuevas, Michael Spinks and Terrible Tim Witherspoon.
Get a load of these snippets of boxing history:
July 11, 1977
Now International Boxing Hall of Famer and then lineal Super Bantamweight world champion Wilfredo “Bazooka” Gomez made the first defense of his WBC title after stopping Mexican challenger Raul Tirado at 2:59 of round five at the Coliseo Roberto Clemente, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The 20 year old Gomez improved to 16-0-1, 16 KO’s. Gomez won the title by 12th round stoppage of erstwhile South Korean defending champion Dong Kyun Yum two months earlier at the same arena. He would proceed to make a division record 16 title defenses before moving up to the featherweights for the second time in 1984.
July 12, 1980
World Boxing Council Jr Middleweight World Champion Maurice Hope made the second defense of his title after stopping Italian Australian Rocky Mattioli at 2:52 of round 11 at the Conference Centre in Wembley, London. Hope led 98-91 twice and 98-92 on the scorecards at the time of the stoppage. This was a rematch from March 1979 when Hope won the WBC title after stopping Mattioli in round 9. The 28 year old Hope improved to 29-2-1, 24 KO’s, while the 26 year old Mattioli dropped to 59-6-2, 46 KO’s. Hope would later lose his title to Wilfred Benitez after Benitez lost his WBC welterweight crown to the streaking Sugar Ray Leonard in 1979.
Matthew Saad Muhammad (L) aims at Yaqui Lopez, New Jersey, 1980.
July 13, 1980
International Boxing Hall of Famer WBC Light Heavyweight World Champion Matthew Saad Muhammad made the fourth defense of his title after stopping Yaqui Lopez at 2:03 of round 14 at the Great Gorge Playboy Club in McAfee, New Jersey . The contest was named Ring Magazine “Fight of the Year” with round eight named the “Round of the Year” by the same publication. The 26 year old Saad Muhammad dropped the 29 year old Lopez four times in round 14 in improving to 27-3-2, 19 KO’s. Lopez fell to 49-10, 33 KO’s. This was the second time they fought each other with Muhammad winning the initial encounter, also by stoppage, in round 11 in 1978.
July 14, 1985
World Boxing Council Welterweight World Champion Milton McCrory made the fifth defense of his title after stopping Carlos Trujillo at 2:03 of round three at the Stade Louis II in Fontvieille, Monaco. The 23 year old McCrory led 20-18 twice and 20-17 on the scorecards at the time of the stoppage and improved to 27-0-1, 22 KO’s. The 24 year old Trujillo dropped to 19-3, 14 KO’s. McCrory would later figure in a welterweight unification versus WBC champion Donald Curry and lose by knockout.
Pipino Cuevas vs Angel Espada.
July 16, 1988
IBF World Champion Simon Brown made the first defense of his title after stopping Jorge Vaca at 2:05 of round three at the National Arena in Kingston, Jamaica. The power punching Brown scored five knockdowns overall and led 20-15 twice and 20-13 on the scorecards at the time of the stoppage. The 24 year old Brown improved to 26-1, 20 KO’s, while the 28 year old Vaca slipped to 42-8-1, 36 KO’s.
July 17, 1976
International Boxing Hall of Fame member Jose Pipino Cuevas won the World Boxing Association Welterweight World Title by stopping Angel Espada inside two rounds at the Plaza de Toros Calafia in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico. The 18 year old Cuevas scored three knockdowns int he 2nd round to become the youngest (at the time) Welterweight World Champion ever. Cuevas improved to 15-6, 13 KO’s, while the 28 year old Espada dropped to 36-8-4, 20 KO’s. Cuevas would remain champion for the next five years before meeting and being knocked out by Tommy Hearns in 1981.
July 18, 1981
International Boxing Hall of Fame member and former Olympic gold medalist Michael “Jinx” Spinks won the World Boxing Association Light Heavyweight Championship after pounding out a 15 round unanimous decision over defending titlist Eddie Mustafa Muhammad by the scores of 146-138, 145-139, and 144-140 at the Imperial Palace Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 29 year old Mustafa Muhammad was making his third defense of the title and fell to 38-5-1, 32 KO’s. The 24 year old Spinks improved to 18-0, 11 KO’s.
July 19, 1986
Extending the record of failure of British heavyweights against American big men, Terrible” Tim Witherspoon made the first defense of his WBA title after stopping Frank Bruno at 2:57 of round 11 in front of 40,000 fans at Wembley Stadium in London, England. The 28 year old Witherspoon landed four consecutive right hands that dropped Bruno, resulting in his corner immediately throwing in the towel. Witherspoon was ahead on the scorecards at the time of the stoppage 99-96, 98-96, and 97-94 and improved to 25-2, 17 KO’s. The 24 year old Bruno dropped to 28-2, 27 KO’s.
July 20, 1980
World Boxing Association Light Heavyweight Champion Eddie Gregory, later known as Eddie Mustafa Muhammad made the first defense of his title after stopping tough challenger Jerry Martin at 2:25 of round at at the Great Gorge Playboy Club in McAfee, New Jersey. Mustafa Muhammad was ahead on two scorecards 88-82 and 87-83 with one even 85-85 before the stoppage. The 28 year old Mustafa Muhammad improved to 37-4-1, 31 KO’s while the 26 year old Martin dropped to 19-2, 12 KO’s.
To be continued...
The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone 09215309477.
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Teodoro Medina Reynoso.
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