A Fire Burns Within: The Miraculous Journey of Wilfredo “Bazooka” Gomez

By Rick Scharmberg on September 12, 2017
A Fire Burns Within: The Miraculous Journey of Wilfredo “Bazooka” Gomez
Highs and lows abound in the career of Wilfredo Gomez, and Christian Giudice tells it all.

The author walked the same dusty streets and visited the same gyms with Gomez by his side, as the fighter told his story…

Wilfredo “Bazooka” Gomez is a boxing legend of Puerto Rican descent who thrilled fans around the world in the late 1970s and early 1980s with his string of exciting knockouts, nearly all of which were televised on Saturday or Sunday afternoons.

Author Christian Giudice presents his third meticulously researched biography of a Latin boxing legend.  In “A Fire Burns Within,” Giudice used the fighter’s own words to describe his humble beginnings, how he sold candy on the streets for pennies in order to save money to achieve his dream of becoming an amateur boxer, and who eventually went on to represent his country in the 1972 Olympics. What makes Giudice’s works special is the fact that he spends so much time with his subject. He walked the same dusty streets and visited the same gyms with Gomez by his side, as the fighter told his story.

Through the words of former trainers, managers, promoters, and many of his opponents, Giudice reviews the fighter’s professional career. Not only does he cover each milestone fight round-by-round and blow-by-blow, Giudice finds a way to place everything in perspective, such as explaining the fighter’s emotions and thoughts at that particular point in time. He describes the fighter’s 32-fight championship knockout streak, and how much it meant to Gomez. Giudice takes you to the peak of the fighter’s career, such as when he became a world champion, and defeating fellow boxing legend, Carlos Zarate, and how Gomez was on top of the world as one of the best fighters in the sport.

“A Fire Burns Within” also goes behind the scenes, investigating and explaining through Gomez, and many others, the personal struggles the fighter was dealing with. For example, Gomez was struggling to make the 122-pound weight class, which was created especially for him by the late WBC sanctioning body president Jose Suliaman.  How the super-bantamweight came about was also described in first-person detail through Gomez and Mauricio Suliaman, the current WBC president and Jose’s son.

Giudice painted the complete picture when Gomez rose in weight and challenged the late-great Mexican champion, Salvador Sanchez, for his 126-pound featherweight title. Once again, through Gomez and his others close to him, Giudice describes how Gomez took Sanchez lightly, and suffered his first loss, which was a devastating defeat. The reader can feel the emotion as Gomez described the feeling of letting the people of Puerto Rico down. Giudice even interviewed Sanchez’s former trainer, as well as the fight’s promoters, in order to offer their perspectives.

Like a roller coaster ride, Gomez once again has to pick himself up like the champion he was, and Giudice, through his phenomenal rapport with Gomez, accurately explains how he did it. Gomez was starting to slow down in the ring, and Giudice describes in detail how even a diminished Gomez could knock out another Mexican great, Lupe Pintor, in another exciting fight on network TV. Gomez would go in the win the elusive featherweight title, but would lose it in his next fight against Azumah Nelson. Highs and lows abound in the career of Wilfredo Gomez, and Giudice tells it all.

Gomez would win another title against Rocky Lockridge, but Giudice convincingly describes the gift decision that Gomez received, and then takes us through the sad ending of a great career. The final chapters explain further health and personal problems that Gomez eventually would overcome.

“A Fire Burns Within” is a book that will appeal to boxing fans who love to read about blow-by-blow action contained in the great fights, which Christian Giudice provides in detail and abundance. It also tells a fascinating human interest story about the life of a Puerto Rican icon. It is also a must-have for any boxing book collection.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Discuss this in our forums

Related Articles

Leave a comment