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Z Gorres: The Dream Turns into Nightmare

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Z Gorres' story is one that is rather typical for a boxer, especially of the lower/smaller divisions. He had fought a few big fights, gave a good account of himself but never got the big title. When he seemed on the right course to win it, he suddenly had to fight for his life. After his 2009 fight against Luis Melendez, which he won on points, Gorres collapsed into a coma and would never fight again. He survived, fortunately. He was a tricky fighter who gave some of the very best fighters of that time, like Vic Darchinyan and Fernando Montiel, tough fights, drawing against the first and losing by split decision against the second. He was blessed with boxing skills, could take a punch and punch hard enough and was tricky and had a good defense. It is truly a shame he was stopped on his quest to win a world title. 

Born Zeta Celestino Oliveros Gorres, on 18 April 1982 in Nasipit, Agusan del Norte, Philippines, his father was a jeepney driver and his mother a housewife. He was one of five children and his brother Jun was a professional boxer as well, but was killed in a street fight in 2005. His boxing nickname was "The Dream". He started boxing at 9 years old and became a pro in 2001, standing 5'4 (164 cm) with an identical reach. He was a southpaw and that made him hard and tricky to fight, as already stated. He went 13-0 before getting stopped for the first and only time by Edgar Rodrigo in a fight for the Filipino flyweight title, 1 June 2003; he was down three times before losing by TKO 9. On 20 December that year, he scored his first noted victory by beating Eric Barcelona (who would also go on to fight Darchinyan, at bantamweight), by SD 10. On 19 March 2005, he beat the brother of Nonito Donaire, Glenn, by TKO 1. On 18 March 2006, he won the Oriental and Pacific super flyweight title by UD 12 against Waen Lertsungnern. He vacated it soon thereafter. 

He finally got his first big fight on 24 February 2007, taking on the WBO super flyweight champ Fernando Montiel at the Cebu City Sports Complex, at home in the Philippines. The fight was very close, but the referee Samuel Viruet deducted two points from Gorres without a single warning and this turned a split draw into a split decision victory for Montiel. One judge had Gorres ahead by as much as 115-111, the other had Montiel ahead by the same score and the third had it 114-112 for Montiel, which means it would have been 114-114 without those unjust deductions. He then stopped Eric Ortiz by TKO 8 in his next fight on 11 August that year, winning the vacant IBF Inter-Continental title. On 2 February next year, he faced Vic Darchinyan, who was 29-1, that 1 loss of course coming by ko against Nonito Donaire. The fight was once again in Cebu City and became infamous for both terrible refereeing and spectators misbehaving and throwing bottles into the ring. That last incident happened when the ref called a slip by Gorres a knockdown for Darchinyan, in the first round. Gorres came back to actually knock down Vic in the second round and had him seriously shaken, with a straight right. He still beat the count, which then made some of the spectators (angry at the fact that he made the count) throw various stuff into the ring. In the fifth, Gorres went down for real but this time the crazy ref called it a slip! A clash of heads in the sixth opened up a bad cut on the forehead of Gorres and he was then sent down in the ninth with a big Darchinyan right. He made it till the final bell, despite slipping to the canvas three more times. 

In the end, the fight was judged to be a draw, a close split one. The referee Lance Revill's incompetence turned out to be because of the fact that he was a last minute replacement for the original referee, John Wright. Still, despite all that, Gorres once again showed his worth and proved he belonged among the world elite, since he also managed to put Darchinyan down, who had hardly ever been down before the Donaire-knockout. Despite the fact that the bout ended a draw in an IBF-eliminator, Darchinyan got to fight for the IBF title because he was ranked higher and went on to win it against Dmitry Kirillov.  After one more fight at super bantamweight, Gorres then moved up to bantamweight. On 14 March 2009, he fought the former world minimumweight champion Roberto Carlos Leyva for the vacant WBO Oriental title, in Cebu City. Gorres put on a beautiful display and dominated Leyva before stopping him by TKO 7, after Leyva got hurt by two vicious uppercuts and his trainer then asked the referee to stop it. For his next fight, he went up to 122 (super bantamweight) and beat the future IBF featherweight champion Cruz Carbajal by a corner retirement in 6, after Carbajal dislocated his arm. 

His last fateful fight happened on 13 November that 2009. It was meant to be the one that would land him a rematch with Montiel, that was gonna happen February next year. He took on Luis Melendez, a solid contender with a record of 26-3, at Mandalay Bay, in one of his rare fights in the US. It was a true slugfest, a toe-to-toe fight and Gorres was ahead after nine rounds, when he was decked in the tenth by several rights and as he got up got a beating but survived till the final bell and won by a wide UD. However, he soon collapsed into a coma from the punishment he received in the final round and suffered a subdural hematoma, which even resulted in a part of his skull being removed! He was fortunate to find himself at such a place however and was able to make full recovery eventually and fly back home in February (ironically same month he would have fought Montiel), where he was greeted by the president at the airport. After some more surgeries and treatments, he began walking again. 

Thus, the career of this prodigy ended too soon and was cut short in a most violent way. It was a great shame, because he had much more to give and many more years to fight-he was after all only 27. His record consists of 31 wins, 17 by ko, and only 2 losses (one tainted) and 2 draws. Despite all his gifts and his renewed motivation at succeeding, it just wasn't meant to be. We salute you, Z Gorres! 


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