Boxing


Juan Carlos Gomez: The Black Panther Fights Back

05.01.06 - Exclusive interview for East Side Boxing from the Gomez camp. By Wray Edwards: The Boxing game is just that: A Game…both in and out of the ring. As with any sport one must, presumably, play by the rules. Trouble is there is no one book of rules for it as there is for Baseball, football and most other sports. State commissions, national and international sanctions, promoters, managers and lawyers all hop around like Ring-Tailed Lemurs trying to stake out various jurisdictional and financial territories. It’s getting to the point that the soap operas which crop up before, during and after many of the matches almost seem an integral part of the process. Sometimes it appears that the boxers are fated to be pawns in a game which, ironically, glorifies single combat and self-reliance.

The current career of “The Black Panther” Juan Carlos Gomez is no exception. The former Cruiser Weight Champion (40-1-0, 33 KO’s) has been fighting at Heavyweight since his August, 17th 2002 debut versus Daniel Frank in Berlin, Germany. Except for an ill-fated, brief visit to the U.S. with Team Freedom, he has remained under the management of Universum and Peter Kohl. Gomez built a respectable European career after defecting from his native Cuba.. Recently Gomez won a bout by UD against Oliver McCall on October 15th 2005 in Düsseldorf. This match was, ostensibly, the completion of a four fight contract which left Juan Carlos a free agent. Then, zap!...they just couldn’t leave it alone.

A German tabloid published a report which alleged that Gomez had failed a drug test. Then the AP, which is usually very conservative with its coverage of such matters, went with the story. The test results which, for some reason, were not released until about two months after the fight, prompted McCall’s camp to opine that this revelation appeared to be grounds to declare the fight a no contest. At least three other fighters on the same card were also alleged to have failed the same test which was, reportedly, conducted by Professor Wilhelm Schaenzer under the authority of the German Federation of Professional Boxers (BDB).

There’s more…No official source other than Universum Box has made this announcement/allegation and none have declared it grounds for action. None such as the WBA, WBC or the BDB have declared the fight a no contest as a result of this allegation. With all of the rumors and speculation flying around, East Side Boxing contacted Juan Carlos’ personal representative (we’ll call him “Frank”) to clarify the situation and get the latest factual news regarding Juan’s plans.

ESB: Hello, this is Wray Edwards. How are you and Juan this evening?

Frank: “I’m fine and Juan Carlos is doing quite well. He’s in great shape and anxious to get back in the ring.”

ESB: We hear he’s back in the U.S. When did he arrive?

Frank: “November I think. We have been meeting quite a bit lately to make plans for his next move.”

ESB: What’s going on with the drug test controversy and the McCall fight?

Frank: “Nobody knows for sure. We’re trying to find out what happened back then and what’s going on with the other three boxers. Juan denies the allegation and wants to clear his name.”#

ESB: How can he do that from California?

Frank: “Well…that would not be easy. Besides, he won’t have to. Universum has agreed to fly him back over there to work things out. His expenses have already been taken care of.”

ESB: Why would they do that? We thought the four fight contract he signed has been fulfilled.

Frank: “Well…mostly. You see, I think the last fight was supposed to be either a twelve round title bout or compensated to Juan Carlos for at least seven figures. I haven’t seen the actual contract yet. He’s a great draw in Germany you know.”

ESB: What happened?

Frank: “Don’t know. Universum must not have been able to work it out.

ESB: Why did Juan fight if it was not according to the agreement?

Frank: “Juan is a professional boxer. He felt that if he held up his end of the bargain and fought the agreed number of contests, there could be no question about his willingness to make the best possible effort.”

ESB: Is Gomez a free agent now?

Frank: “Well they do have options and various dates. Peter Kohl is still pretty much his legal manager and so what ever gets resolved with Peter and Universum I’m sure will be worked out at the managerial level. I can tell you this, he wants to do whatever it takes ensure that he will fight on a regular basis, and that he is with a promoter who can get him where he wants to go and then be able live and train out of the United States (writer’s note: Universum has associated with Top Rank in Texas).

ESB: Do you think this will get cleared up in a week or so?

Frank: “No, I wouldn’t put a time frame on it because he’s (Juan Carlos) told me that he’s going over there indefinitely. For instance the WBA championship committee decided to remove him from the rankings pending verification of the test results. Just because someone comes out with accusations on the internet doesn’t mean that the WBA should believe it and remove a fighter from the rankings. Especially since the BDB didn’t issue a report to the WBA, to the WBC or either to Universum Box Promoters and certainly not Juan Carlos Gomez the fighter.

“This is ‘politricks’ that’s goin’ on. From Universum’s standpoint they say not only did they not tell the Associated Press that he had tested positive…we have no knowledge of it. The BDB hasn’t said anything to the fighter. And we found out that other fighters on the card had tested positive.”

ESB: Do you think they want to sign him to another contract? How would that even be possible considering the drug thing?

Frank: “Well there seems to be more to that issue than has been fully told yet. Juan has much respect for Mr. Kohl and thinks that Klause-Peter knows he would not jeopardize his career in that way. Those who are in the know, know that he didn’t use any drugs and when he gets to Germany they are going to do everything they can to clear the whole mess away.”

ESB: You said Juan was in shape. Does that mean ready to fight?

Frank: “Universum has dates already…January seventh which, of course he can’t make.…but Juan Carlos is in such good shape and he does want to fight in the month of February, it wouldn’t surprise me if he did fight on February fourth…they have a date for March eleventh and they have a date for April eighth.”

ESB: Who needs who here?

Frank: “Here’s what I think is going to happen. They know he’s the best fighter that they have, so they’re going to either ‘A’ appease him somehow with either some type of signing bonus or restructuring his contract and giving him what he wants…or ‘B’ they’re going to release him. I can’t see how a company has the number four heavyweight in the world and they don’t keep him.”

ESB: What if they can’t work things out?

Frank. “Well, Juan is constantly being approached by many interested parties. Our counsel has indicated that the test results were of such low trace levels that incidental contamination cannot be ruled out.# Since that is the case, he is still looked upon as a viable contender in the division.”

ESB: Thank you. Tell Juan Carlos good luck on his trip to Germany.

Admittedly Gomez has had a checkered career of late. He is, however, a credible force in the Heavyweight division. Not only is he a world class fighter, he speaks at least three languages fluently. How many of us can say that? ESB was given far more details than appear here, but due to the pending negotiations, much of what we now understand about what has and will happen must wait for the proper moment. A brief look at the rather fragmented reporting on this story should convince most that there is more to this than has been reported at this time.

Most of the reports are speculative and certainly, relative to what ESB has just learned, not factually complete, or grounds for any substantial conclusion. Suffice it to say that having a judgmental attitude concerning Gomez resulting from a strangely delayed test result would not be wise until all the facts are in. We are Boxing fans and Juan Carlos is potentially one of our best talents in a division which needs all the help it can get. See you at the fights.


#Note: Studies of U.S. currency have detected drug traces on eighty per cent of the bills tested. This contamination was blamed on use of the bills as paraphernalia, handling by dealers and cross-contamination. It has been estimated that ninety percent of average citizens come in contact with these substances on a daily basis. Bank tellers and other persons who handle money on a regular basis were virtually certain to show traces.

Article posted on 05.01.2006



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