By David Martinez / Boxing Historian / dmboxing.com
When people ask me who are some of the nicest boxers that I have personally met – not in any particular order – the first group of fifteen that come to mind are Sugar Ray Robinson, George Foreman, Danny Lopez, Bobby Chacon, Ernie Terrell, Johnny Tapia, Diego Corrales, Jerry Quarry, Mando Ramos, Ruben Olivares, Matthew Saad Muhammad, Eddie Perkins, Vernon Forrest, and Ken Buchanan … but I must not leave out one other – Rodolfo “El Gato” Gonzalez Select2 download.
Gonzalez, the former WBC lightweight champion, is truly a gentleman. I was honored to be his presenter at his induction into the World Boxing Hall of Fame on October 18, 2003 피고인 1회 다운로드.
Gonzalez was actually born on a small farm owned by his grandparents near Tepatitlan Los Altos de Jalisco, Mexico on December 16, 1945 다운로드. He is one of eight children born to Florencio and Maria Luz Gonzalez. The family moved to Guadalajara when Rodolfo was a young child.
Growing up, Gonzalez had aspirations of becoming a bull fighter, El Matador, but that changed to boxing when he became intrigued with his boxer-cousin Jose Becerra, who was an outstanding bantamweight champion 다운로드.
With no amateur status, he started his professional career in November 1959, just six weeks shy of his 14th birthday, against less than moderate competition in Mexico 다운로드. A southpaw and tremendous body puncher, he won 51 of his first 52 bouts, all but one by knockout.
On February 15, 1963, in making his U.S. debut, he lost to Licho Guerrero in Los Angeles by tenth round stoppage.
That loss would become the start of the dark side of his career, not fighting again for nearly 3 years. Soon after the fight, he was diagnosed with liver cancer.
Gonzalez personally told my late friend Johnny Ortiz and I that after staying with his mother in Tijuana, Mexico, he began to speak deeply with God on a daily basis. He then had a dream where the Virgin of Guadalupe encouraged him to pray and attend her church.
Gonzalez, with cane in hand, walked to her church and laid himself at her mercy and within days felt physically better. Soon after, at his next visit with the doctors, they found no trace of cancer; this was indeed a miracle. I don’t find it a coincidence that, as an infant, Gonzalez was baptized at a small chapel named “La Capilla de la Virgen de Guadalupe.“
Upon his return to the ring in 1965, he would lose three out of four bouts before getting back on track and winning fifteen of his next sixteen fights from May 1966 to December 1970.
In a bout that I attended at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles on December 17, 1970, Gonzalez fought and lost an absolute war with Antonio “Kid Pambele” Cervantes by eight round stoppage that was due to a cut over his left eye. In the fight both fighters went down, Gonzalez in round one, Cervantes in round three. At the time of the stoppage, two of the three judges had Gonzalez ahead on their scorecards.
In 1971, Gonzalez signed with legendary and future Hall of Fame trainer Jackie McCoy. That would begin a string of victories which led to a world title match for “El Gato”.
On November 10, 1972, Gonzalez won the WBC Lightweight Championship at the Los Angeles Coliseum with a dominating performance, a 13th round stoppage, over Chango Carmona.
Gonzalez defended his title twice with wins over Ruben Navarro and Antonio Puddu, both by knockouts.
Gonzalez would lose his title on April 11, 1974 in Tokyo, Japan to top ranked contender Ishimatsu “Guts” Suzuki. He suffered three knockdowns in Round 8 and that ended the fight on the installed three-knockdown ruling.
A rematch was set later that year on November 28 in Tokyo, and Suzuki retained his title with a stoppage, with Gonzalez suffering a severe cut over his eye, in the 13th round.
Gonzales officially retired after the Suzuki fight. Although there are several differences regarding his outstanding ring record, my count is 81 wins, 7 losses, and 1 draw with 71 knockouts.