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A little guy who's riding high
Steve Wulf
November 05, 1979
By defending his super bantamweight championship for the 10th straight time with his 10th straight knockout, Wilfredo Gomez gave a lift to the sport's lower classes
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November 05, 1979

A Little Guy Who's Riding High

By defending his super bantamweight championship for the 10th straight time with his 10th straight knockout, Wilfredo Gomez gave a lift to the sport's lower classes

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Gomez is an unusual fighter in many ways. Although his lawyer handles the finer points, he is basically his own manager. He alone dictates the terms of his fights. Says Pe´┐Żagaricano, "In the classic sense, a boxer always needed a manager to serve as his surrogate brain. The manager had to make up for the fighter's intellectual shortcomings. Wilfredo has no such shortcomings. He has a brain."

Although an earlier business venture into sports promotions and real estate, called Bazooka Gomez Enterprises, has failed, the champion is still worth close to a million dollars, almost unheard of for a fighter in the lighter weight classes. As probably the greatest sports hero in Puerto Rico today, he is extremely marketable. He even has Hollywood aspirations, although his acting experience consists mainly of a couple of TV auto commercials.

Gomez has also entered into a partnership with Paul Guez, the president of Sasson, the jeans-manufacturing firm with the all-too-memorable commercial ("Ooh, la, la, Sasson..."). Guez and Gomez make an odd couple, a clothing designer from Lyons, France, and one of the best fighters in the world pound-for-pound. But Guez is an avid fight fan, and Gomez has a nose for money. Wilfredo now holds the distribution rights to all Sasson products in Puerto Rico, and in exchange Gomez wears a Sasson robe into the ring. That was Guez hoisting Gomez up in the center of the ring when the fight was over.

Gomez' business interests are not about to make him forget that he is first and foremost a fighter. "He is always amiable, always kidding around out of the ring," says Pe´┐Żagaricano, "but when his hands are being taped before a fight, his whole personality changes."

Ready when you are, Little Red.

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