. More Boxing News-------------------------- Boxing Interviews---------------------------- UFC/MMA NEWS
Juan Carlos Gomez: Career in Crisis
By Luke Dodemaide (August 2, 2004) 
Juan Carlos Gomez
By numbers Juan Carlos Gomez looks just about perfect; 6’3, 220 pounds, a WBC cruiserweight world championship belt, and a pristine 36-0 record. But numbers don’t talk as loud as words, and many close to Juan Carlos say he is anything but ‘perfect’. It seems rather, his rapid roller coaster ride into USA via Germany and Cuba looks destined to come to a sudden, unfortunate and tragic halt.

Prior to last year, Gomez’s endless talent was on show when he graced the German rings as a cruiserweight, and more often than not, with the WBC strap around his waist.

Through all the uncertainty and question marks that revolve around German boxing, Gomez’s undeniable skill shone through. When Gomez began to operate north of 200 pounds in the heavyweight division, the glare on Gomez grew even brighter. He was suddenly a big player in the sport's biggest division. Something America and in particular, ‘Team Freedom’ felt they needed to get their hands on.

When Juan Carlos Gomez defeated previously undefeated and highly regarded Sinan Samil Sam at heavyweight, ‘Team Freedom’ were looking at a solid investment capable of bringing home the heavyweight world championship to partner his cruiserweight crown. Heavyweight contenders quickly saw the danger signs over Gomez’s head and retreated when offered contracts to fight Juan Carlos.

But as Gomez’s reputation grew in boxing circles, it seemed so did his head. Juan Carlos started to feud with other members of ‘Team Freedom’ and was no longer happy with his assigned house which, although nice, was not the villa atop the hill.

Gomez' management team bought Gomez a new phone along with a new sixty thousand dollar BMW in hope that Gomez would feel more at home, welcome, and mobile. This they assumed would probably lead him to feel superior to his other stable mates in the 'Team Freedom' training camp. But Gomez still was not happy with his treatment in ‘Team Freedom’ and turned his back on training, drove down the California coast and took a liking to the LA party scene, showing up every so often to collect thousands for his festivities. Gomez’s phone bills were also believed to be highly irregular, long calls to Europe and across America were expensively frequent. Gomez was also back in talks with European promotional giant 'Universum' and was looking for ways to wriggle out his ‘Team Freedom’ contract. Tactics were scarce, that is until Gomez’s rapid spending brought bankruptcy into the equation. Declaration of bankruptcy would accomplish two things: 1. erasure of debt; and 2. nullification of all contracts.

After the hearing, and a period of study by the judge, he was granted permission to declare. But when ‘Universum’ and other promotional companies learnt of Gomez’s behaviour of late, they backed off, leaving Gomez in the cold to ponder his heavyweight blunder alone, without a contract and without a pay cheque. Around this time rumours also circulated that Gomez was forced to work part time as a security guard just to meet daily expenses, as his recent party lifestyle had quickly used up all of his thousands in advances.

Gomez, an Afro-Cuban, was surrounded in these months by Cubans (Louis DeCubas in management, as well as fellow boxers Disoblys Hurtado and Joel Casamayor) who spoke his language, and did everything they could to help him adjust. His prima donna attitude was ultimately the monkey wrench that was thrown into the works and derailed his career in the big time.

Everybody involved made every conceivable effort to placate and care for the needs of Gomez. It is quite sad that such a talent should allow personal avarice, and a lack of discipline to derail such a brilliant boxing career before its zenith.

It is not impossible that someone will give Juan Carlos Gomez another chance and he will fight again, but sources close to Gomez have informed me such a spectacle looks increasingly unlikely. For Gomez, it seems, the buck stops at thirty six wins without a loss. Boxing is a sport that’s home to more tragedies than Greek theatre, but while Gomez’s story is sorrowful, his display of robbing himself of his huge potential fits more under the genre of crime.

Gomez’s undefeated march into the business end of the heavyweight division had not been seen since Ike Ibeabuchi three years ago; it's just unfortunate that Juan Carlos has followed Ibeabuchi into the dark depths of nothingness, with empty pockets, endless talent, and no-one to blame but himself.

So the story so far doesn’t end with Gomez riding into the sunset, more stumbling in the heat of the hot sun that is elite professional heavyweight boxing. Only time will reveal the final chapters and only Juan Carlos can write them.

Let’s hope he’s working on a happy ending.
© Copyright / All Rights reserved: Doghouse Boxing 1998-2004