In a ceremony held in Arecibo, the World Boxing Organization (WBO), with the collaboration of former world champion Samuel 'El Torbellino' Serrano, brought together several former Puerto Rican world champions along with several active boxers to recognize the trajectory of former three-division world champion Wilfredo 'Bazooka' Gómez.
"Had the WBO existed in the Gómez era, he would have been our champion. But we still celebrate him because of his legacy in the ring and his great humility as a person. This belt that we present to him names him as a WBO 'Honorific Champion of Champions’, yet it is only a small sample of the affection and admiration that we have for him," said WBO president Francisco 'Paco' Valcárcel.
An excited Gomez said that "I thank the WBO and Paco for their support and recognition on this day. Thank you very much. I am very happy with everyone who is here."
In addition to Valcárcel, Serrano and Gómez, former world champions Angel 'Cholo' Espada, Alfredo 'El Salsero' Escalera, Orlando Fernández, Ángel 'La Avispa' Chacón, Josué 'Dickie' Camacho, Alex 'El Nene' Sanchez were present at the party. John John Molina, Rafael del Valle, Iván Calderón, Daniel 'La Cobra; Jimenez, Nelson Dieppa, Víctor 'Luvi' Calleja, three times world title contender Wilfredo Rivera, former NABO champion Daniel 'Pipino' Alicea, current boxers Víctor Bisbal, Jean Carlos 'Lobo' Torres, Wilfredo 'Bimbito' Méndez, Luis 'Popeye' Lebrón (WBO Latino Featherweight Champion) and amateur national youth champion Tatiana Ortíz.
Trainers Dennis Pantoja, Yoel Gonzalez, Félix Pagán Pintor, Margaro Cruz, as well as referees José Hiram Rivera and Roberto Ramírez, Jr., promoter Peter Rivera, and Chairman of the WBO Rankings Committee, Edgardo López Sasso, together with WBO legal advisor and member of the WBO Regional Titles Committee Gustavo Olivieri and other sports personalities were present.
Gómez won the gold medal in the first amateur world championships, held in Havana in 1974. He then jumped to the professional ranks and won world titles at 122, 126 and 130 pounds. He retired with a professional record of 44-3-1 with 42 wins by knockout, and is considered one of the best fighters of all time.