Bronx Boxer Could be a Contender
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, March 11- One bout on the undercard of the Tavoris Cloud-Bernard Hopkins IBF Light Heavyweight title tilt, held at Barclays Center on March 9, was of special interest to Bronx natives and residents. For Bronx born boxer Eddie Gomez 13 was a lucky number. The 20-year-old junior middleweight (13-0, 9 KO’s) kept his undefeated professional record intact with an impressive victory.
The opponent of Gomez in the scheduled eight-round light middleweight encounter on Saturday night was Javier Gomez (14-11, 10 KO’s), no relation. The latter Gomez is from Baja California in Mexico, where he fought all but one of his bouts.
For the fifth time in his short pro career, Gomez of the Bronx was able to end the bout in the first round. A left hook floored Gomez of Mexico. He rose from the canvas, but experienced second generation referee Arthur Mercante, Jr. stepped in and halted the bout at 1:17 of the initial round, the shortest lasting bout in young Gomez’s successful career.
The bout was not the first for Gomez in the new venue as he stopped Saul Benitez in the second round in the inaugural boxing card held at the great new arena on October 20, 2012. The Puerto Rican resident has fought six of his pro bouts in his new homeland. On August 19, 2011, Gomez thrilled family and friends from his pace of birth by gaining a TKO win over Marcus Hall in the Paradise Theater on the Grand Concourse. The fight was halted after Gomez floored his opponent three times in the opening round.
Gomez had the distinction of boxing at the world renowned Madison Square Garden in his most recent encounter on December 1, 2012. He won a six-round decision over previously unbeaten Luis Hernandez.
Gomez, following in the footsteps of his dad, trained as a boxer when in his young teens. While attending John F. Kennedy High School, he was training at the Juan LaPorte Boxing Club, both in the Bronx. Gomez, the youngest of nine siblings, compiled an outstanding amateur record including two Junior Olympic national Championships.
At the age of 17, Gomez won the 152-pound Open championship of the prestigious NY Daily News Golden Gloves tournament. In the title bout, Gomez won a unanimous decision over Long Islander Cletus Seldin, now also an undefeated pro.
Shortly after that win, Gomez signed a professional contract with Golden Boy Promotions. Former world champion Oscar de la Hoya spoke words of welcome and praise for his newly signed boxer, “Eddie Gomez is part of the new breed of fighter coming into this sport and we’re very excited about signing him with Golden Boy. He can do it all in the ring, he’s exciting, charismatic and fans are going to love him.”
The Garifuna-American boxer is a true source of pride not only to those born in the Bronx, but to his people from the Caribbean and to his parents who were born in Honduras.
The headline bout of the exciting evening that drew a crowd of 12,293 made boxing history. Bernard Hopkins (53-6-2, 32 KO’s) defeated Tavoris Cloud (14-1, 19 KO’s) in a 12-round unanimous decision to win the IBF Light Heavyweight title, becoming the oldest fighter to capture a recognized world championship in the history of the sport.
In a post-fight press conference the 48-year-old champion declared, “Cloud is a gutsy young champion…But I’ve got a history. I’ve got a history of destroying young champions.”
The next highly anticipated pro boxing event to be held at Barclays will take place on April 7, 2013. The headline bout will be a showdown between Danny Garcia and Zab Judah for the super Lightweight title.