DON’S COLLECTION 📚🗃️
(Memorabilia photo collected by Don Ankofski)
On this day, December 8th, 1984, Hall-of-Fame standouts 🇵🇷Wilfredo “Bazooka” Gomez, and 🇬🇭Azumah Nelson squared off in San Juan, Puerto Rico with the World WBC Featherweight title on the line. Coming into this bout, Gomez was the Champion, while “Zoom” would have his second crack at the WBC title, after losing the first time around to late-great legend 🇲🇽Salvador Sanchez, though his performance did officially put Nelson on the map.
It was a great back and forth fight, etched into the memories of boxing fans. Each fighter traded at will, digging on their front foot and taking 🎲🎲gambles with their power. The wear and tear of this bout proved that one of these iconic boxers could take a shot better than the other. Everything fell apart for Gomez in the 11th when he was scraped across the jaw with a blistering right cross that took the life out of his legs.
Zoom relentlessly chopped away at the hurt, weary Champion, bringing about a roar of nervousness for the animated Puerto Rican 🏟️crowd, sensing the vulnerability of the moment with their great Champion in peril. Gomez, stuck on the ropes, was bludgeoned with hooks, uppercuts, and roundhouse rights as Nelson in between shots was bracing him on those ropes to take the leverage away from Bazooka while inflicting damage.
As Gomez circled off the ropes, Azumah continued to wail away until Wilfredo went spiraling down to the canvas. Hurt, but up, Bazooka fired a last-ditch right hand, but Azumah parried, and sealed the deal with a 💥counter right, left hook combination, and Wilfredo listlessly crumbled down to the mat. He was counted out as he was trying to get up, and slumped back down immediately after. Azumah Nelson had finally seen his dream of becoming a World Champion come true, and it was the biggest victory of his legendary career.
Azumah was held up by the arms of his supporters in complete jubilation, and Zoom fully basked in the moment of his glory.
Gomez was towards the backend of his greatness that he had established in the late 70’s and early 80’s, while this gave berth to Nelson’s legacy that he carried forth in the 80’s and 90’s. “Arguably” the greatest 🇵🇷Puerto Rican Champion, and “arguably” the greatest 🌍African Champion met on this day to leave us with this 🖼️snapshot in time, where greatness, and risk became intertwined with one another to create memories.