by Ronnie Nathanielsz
Former world champion considered the best Puerto Rican fighter of all-time, Wilfredo Gomez is showing signs of recovery after he was rushed to hospital in critical condition after respiratory failure caused by a lung infection.
The World Boxing Council quoted a family spokesman, Erick Rodriguez, who said the 56-year-old Gomez “is even breathing on his own and has tried to communicate with signs” while sister-in-law Sonia Hernandez told the WBC the health of the former champion “is evolving positively.”
Gomez won WBA and WBC titles at super-bantamweight, featherweight and junior lightweight. He retired in 1989 with a 44-3 record, including one draw and 42 knockouts.
Nicknamed "Bazooka," because of his powerful punch, Gomez had a reputation for taking out opponents quickly, averaging less than four rounds a fight.
He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1995, becoming only the fifth fighter to be elected in his first year of eligibility.
He lived mostly in South Florida but frequently visited Puerto Rico, where he had several run-ins with the law, including being charged with cocaine possession and domestic violence. He moved to Puerto Rico last year.