By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Classy Filipino southpaw Z “The Dream” Gorres is in critical condition at the University Medical Center in Las Vegas virtually fighting for his life after putting on the finest performance of his career in scoring what was regarded as a career defining victory over relentless Colombian puncher Juan Melendez at the Mandalay Bay House of Blues on Friday.
In several telephone conversations with ALA PROMOTIONS president Michael Aldeguer, vice president Dennis Canete and trainer Edito “Ala” Villamor told BoxingScene.com, insidesports.ph, Standard Today and Viva Sports said that they were surprised when Gorres suddenly collapsed in his corner after the lopsided decision was announced and he had draped himself with the Philippine flag.
We covered the fight for the giant broadcast network ABS-CBN along with Dennis Principe and noticed that Gorres who had been dropped with a vicious left in the final seconds of the tenth round appeared to stagger to his corner and collapse and was immediately attended to and carried out of the ring on a stretcher and rushed to hospital.
Aldeguer initially thought that the fight in which Gorres was active from the opening bell to the last stages of the final round merely fainted because of exhaustion as well as tension because it was a fight he wanted to win handsomely to assure himself of a world title shot.
Aldeguer and Villamor recalled that Gorres told them he was hit by a really hard blow and felt it but that he was alright.
Villamor told us at first he didn’t know what the problem was until Canete who accompanied Gorres to the hospital called to say that he was declared in critical condition.
Aldeguer subsequently arrived at the hospital with Villamor after the Mark Jason Melligen fight and told us that there was swelling of the brain and a possible blood clot and later that the doctors had operated on Gorres in order to ease the pressure on the brain.
The doctor attending to Gorres, critical care specialist Dr. Michael Seiss informed Filipino-American doctor Allan Recto that Gorres was in a medically-induced coma that would last for a few days and that “hopefully he will return to consciousness.”
The operation was reportedly done to drain fluid from his brain to relieve pressure.
Dr. Recto who is a respected ring physician of the World Boxing Council told philboxing.com "If an ordinary person, like you and me, will be in Gorres' condition the chances of survival is very slim. Only because Gorres is an athlete that he has more [of a] chance to survive."
In the fight against Melendez, Gorres fought as though his life depended on it, clearly doing what he told us he would do on the eve of the fight and that is “to use my skill to beat him although he looks in good shape and is strong.”
In the fight which will be telecast on ABS-CBN’s pre-eminent Channel 2 beginning at 9:45 a.m. on Sunday, Gorres started off aggressively and nailed Melendez, also a southpaw, with a series of near-perfect combinations in the opening round before he rocked the tough Colombian with a right uppercut followed by a right straight in round two.
Gorres continued to pursue Melendez in the third round and dropped him at the end of a six-punch flurry forcing referee Vic Drackulich to give the Colombian a standing eight count.
The WBO No. 3 and the IBF No. 10 who was aiming to win impressively and earn a title shot continued his mastery of Melendez over the next three rounds before getting tagged by a solid left uppercut in round seven. Rather than back-off, Gorres came forward and connected with a good right straight.
Gorres had the better of the exchanges in round eight but got caught with a hard left towards the end of the round. Showing no ill-effects of the punches of Melendez, Gorres continued to press the action in round nine and clipped Melendez with a good uppercut followed by a hard right that clearly hurt the resilient Melendez.
Unlike in his past fights when he showed a tendency to ease off in the crucial championship rounds, Gorres stayed with his unusually aggressive style and seconds after we had suggested during the coverage that there was no need to take any risks since he was a clear winner, Gorres dropped his right hand for a split second during a furious exchange and got nailed with a vicious, perfectly-timed left from Melendez that dropped him on the seat of his pants.
Gorres beat the count but was clearly in trouble and hung on for dear life until the final bell sounded to emerge a comfortable winner on points. As the Filipino fans in the venue chanted his name “Gorres! Gorres!!” ring announcer Lupe Contreras read the scorecards of the three judges at ringside all of whom had Gorres the winner by a wide margin.
Burt Clements had Gorres the winner 97-91 while Chuck Giampa and Jerry Roth both had the flashy Gorres the winner by identical scorecards of 98-90 which meant he won eight of the ten rounds which was a fair reflection of the Filipino’s dominance.
But the dream turned into a nightmare when Gorres collapsed in his corner and was rushed to the UNC Hospital where he underwent surgery and was declared in critical condition.
Respect ALA Gym patron Tony Aldeguer who was in constant communication with us as we gave him a rundown of the progress of the fight and the subsequent painful news, told us that Gorres had been with him since he was 9 years old and asked for prayers for his speedy recovery.
Aldeguer noted that Gorres “is a very good family man with a loving wife and four children. He is a very kind and gentle person. A rare human being.”
He told us in a tone of voice that clearly demonstrated his anguish, that Gorres “never got angry at anyone, including opponents in the ring.”
We have covered several of Gorres' fights over the past many years and have known him as a fine young fighter who accepted his victories as well as his defeats with the same decent and gentlemanly demeanor and even when effectively robbed of a world title against WBO super flyweight champion Fernando Monitel on February 24, 2007 in Cebu where he lost a hugely controversial split decision, took the setback without rancor.
Aldeguer who, with all the other boxers in the ALA Gym visited the Basilica of Sto Nino in Cebu to pray for the speedy recovery of their fighter and their friend appealed to boxing fans and the Filipino people “ Please ask the Lord not to take him yet. We need your prayers for him."
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