Larry Merchant once dubbed boxing the "Theater of the Unexpected" and over the years we've seen that phrase prove true on a fairly infrequent, but yet notable, basis. We might not see a "lot" of upsets, but when we see them some are just incredibly big shocks. Today we look at one which is still a result that confounds all understanding of the sport, despite having happened 29 years ago. It featured a man who regularly features in the top 10 listing of his division and a man who ended up losing 25 of his 70 career bouts. This was among the most unexpected shocks we have seen in recent years.
December 19th 1990
Great Western Forum, Inglewood, California, USA
Rolando Pascua (24-5, 8) Vs Humberto Gonzalez (30-0, 24)
Ask anyone to name their Light Flyweight top 10 of all time and Humberto "Chiquita" Gonzalez will be on their list somewhere. Likely in the top 5. Cliff Rold, of Boxing Scene, listed him at #5 in 2009, Scott Levinson for Proboxing-Fans put him at #3 and numerous others have listed him in a similar place. In 1990 he was in his pomp, he had travelled to Korea and beaten Yulk Woo Lee for the WBC title, defended it against Jung Koo Chang and picked up 4 more defenses. He had shown vicious power, great skills and was unbeaten. At the time he was widely regarded as a man who could attract a fan base to the little guys, and was beginning to fight pretty regularly in the US, with this being his third bout at the Great Western Forum in 1990.
Rolando Pascua, known as "Jojo" on the other hand wouldn't make it on to anyone's top 10 list of all time Light Flyweights. In fact he may even struggle to make it into a Filipino top 5, never mind an all time great list. It wouldn't be a disservice to rank him outside of the top 30 for Asian fighters at the weight. Going into his bout with Gonzalez he had scored 2 straight wins, but less than 11 months removed from a loss to Napa Kiatwanchai. He had never won a bout outside of the Philippines and was 10-5 in his previous 15 bouts, after a solid 14-0 start. He had given good performances on the road but was certainly not regarded as a legitimate test for the unbeaten, and destructive, Gonzalez.
What we ended up getting was one of the true shocks of 1990! A year that had more than it's share of big surprises.
Gonzalez seemed to come in confidently, and was landing some solid shots from the early moments, but to his credit Pascua did well in controlling range and used his reach and speed well. Pascua was able to frustrate Gonzalez through out the first round and even when he was tagged he still remained composed and stuck with his gameplan.
The pressure from Gonzalez ramped up in round 2 but Pascua continued to do well and continued to dictate the range whilst chipping away at Gonzalez.
The little Mexican was left cut in round 4, when he tried to up the top and go to war with Pascua. Although the shots from Gonzalez were the better ones, he was busted up by an accidental head clash. The cut was a major problem for a man who had already been struggling with the reach and range, and was now struggling with a nasty cut. Everything was simply getting tougher and tougher for the defending champion, despite the fact he was starting to land with growing frequency.
In round 6 we again saw the two men unloading shots, wildly trading in some thrilling sequences. The back and forth action was the beginning of the end, and the start of one of the year's biggest upsets!
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).