Widely recognized as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez was on the cusp of achieving some major milestones and then disaster struck. Thailand’s Srisaket Sor Rungvisai outpointed him in a close fight and then knocked him out in the rematch. Can Chocolatito bounce back? Time will tell, but he can take encouragement from the examples of the fighters listed below who regained their footing after a career dip. They are listed in order of when they made their professional debut.
Floyd Patterson (1952-1972)
In 1967 and 1968, this great fighter lost to Jimmy Ellis and Jerry Quarry. He also fought to a draw with Quarry. After a two-year break, he returned to action and reeled off nine straight wins to earn a rematch with Muhammad Ali.
George Chuvalo (1956-1978)
This granite chinned Canadian heavyweight (73-18-2) took a backward step in 1971 when he lost a close UD to Jimmy Ellis. He rebounded with three straight wins, went the distance with Muhammad Ali in their second meeting, and completed his career with seven straight stoppage victories.
Eder Jofre (1957-1976)
During a 12-month period in 1965-66, Jofre suffered the first two losses of his career at the hands of Fighting Harada sandwiched around a draw with Manny Elias. Jofre also lost his WBC and WBA world bantamweight titles. After a three-year retirement the “Golden Bantam” came storming back to bookend his fabulous career with 25 straight wins including a victory over Jose Legra (132-9-4) in 1973 to capture the WBC world featherweight crown. He finished his career 72-2-4.
Tony Alongi (1959-1967)
This under-the radar heavyweight was a road warrior who was stopped by Billy Daniels in 1963 at the Sunnyside Garden in Queens, New York. From that point on he was undefeated with 11 wins, three draws (two with Jerry Quarry and the other with George Chuvalo), and a technical draw. Tony’s final mark was 40-2-4.
Randall “Tex” Cobb (1977-1993)
Tex hit the skids when he lost to Buster Douglas in 1984 and Michael Dokes in 1985. Then things got worse. Eddie Gregg beat him and then Dee Collier (7-4 going in) proved it was no fluke when he used Tex as a basketball and dropped him three times on the way to a shocking first round KO. Cobb regrouped in 1987 and went undefeated in his last 19 bouts against suspect opposition. He came out of the professional gates fast, winning 17 straight, thus giving him an almost perfect bookend. Tex ended his colorful career with a 42-7-1 mark.
Rene Jacquot (1983-1990)
This French welterweight got off to a dismal start and was 7-6-1 after his first 14 bouts, but he found his groove and won 12 in a row between 1986-1989 including the WBC 154-pound world title in a shocking UD over champion Donald Curry in The Ring Magazine’s 1989 Upset of the Year.
Steve Collins (1986-1997)
The “Celtic Warrior” was 21-3 after suffering back-to-back losses to Reggie Johnson and Sumbu Kalambay in 1992. He regained his footing and won his last 15 straight including two wins over Nigel Benn and two over Chis Eubank. He also TKOed Chris Pyatt (42-3) to win the WBO world middleweight title. Inexplicably, he remains out of the Hall.
Carl Thompson (1988-2005)
The beloved “Cat” was never in a dull fight and one of the most exciting was his closet classic with Ezra Sellers in Manchester, England in 2001. In this all-action fight, the Cat was decked four times while Sellers visited the canvas twice. Sellers finally won the shoot-out by stoppage in the fourth round. Thompson then won six straight against the likes of Sebastian Rothmann (TKO 9) and David Haye (TKO 5).
Michael Moorer (1988-2008)
“Double M” had many memorable fights during his splendid 52-4-1 career, but things dipped badly when he was KO’d in 30 seconds by David Tua in 2002. But he then finished with a 9-1 mark against decent opposition, winning his last six, a skein begun with a ninth round stoppage of Vassiliy Jirov.
Herbie Hide (1989-2010)
The “Dancing Destroyer” was stopped by unknown Lithuanian Mindaugas Kulikauskas (3-6-2) in 2004. (According to BoxRec, the stoppage, which came between rounds three and four, was the result of a bad cut over Hide’s left eye that was caused by a clash of heads, but the fight still went into the books as a loss for Hide.) Coming back in 2006, Hide ran off 14 straight wins including four in bouts sanctioned for the WBC International cruiserweight title. The often neglected Hide ended his career with a slate of 49-4. Not bad.
Quirino Garcia (1990-2009)
Strange but true. Garcia, known as “Kirino”, became a world rated super welterweight contender and holder of numerous regional titles after losing his first 18 pro fights. He turned the corner in 1994 when he iced Norberto Bueno and then went on to finish his career with a 40-28-4 mark. He defeated four former world champions – Jorge Vaca (twice by KO), Meldrick Taylor, Simon Brown, and Frankie Randall – and numerous other well-known boxers. He was also the victim of a bad decision in a televised fight with former Olympic gold medalist David Reid. His record depicts a bell shape, but one that is most deceptive. Kirino is considered a legend among Mexican boxing aficionados.
Shannon Briggs (1992-Present)
The “Cannon” suffered a horrific defeat at the hands of Vitali Klitschko in October of 2010—one that kept him in a hospital for some time. He returned to the ring fit and ready in April of 2014 and launched nine wins in a row, seven coming by way of first round KO. Long in the tooth, the Brooklynite waits for that one big payday, but his days are numbered.
Paulie Malignaggi (2001-present)
The “Magic Man” was 21-0 when he met a rampaging Miguel Cotto (26-0) in 2006. Many feared that Paulie would be savaged, but he hung in and made a fight of it despite suffering a broken jaw and left the ring with more gravitas than he had when he entered. He lost but he also won. He then went on to win world titles at 140 and 147 pounds.
Czar Amonsot (2004-present)
In July 2007, Amonsot suffered a brain bleed in a savage bout with Michael Katsidis. The injury prompted the Nevada Commission to ban the “Czar of Bohol” from boxing in that state for life. However, in an amazing turnabout and with a dangerous nod toward Russian Roulette, the Czar, now an Australian citizen, is still fighting. He has gone undefeated (16-0-2 with one no-decision) since the war with Katsidis and his record now stands at 34-3-3. He also holds a number of regional titles. His last 15 fights have been in Australia. He fights at his own peril.
Can you name some others?
Ted Sares, a member of Ring 4’s Boxing Hall of Fame, is one of the world’s oldest active power lifters and holds several records in the Grand Master class. He has won the EPF Nationals championship four years in a row. He also participates in track and field events in the Senior Games.
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