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Forgotten Warriors: Segundo Mercado


BoztheMadman
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One of very few noted Ecuadorian boxers in the sport's history, Segundo Mercado was a solid and tall middleweight and super middleweight. Standing 6'2 with a reach of 74 inches and also equipped with enough power, he is most famous for being the first and one of very few men to knock down Bernard Hopkins, back in 1994. This happened in the fight for the vacant IBF middle title, which Hopkins then won in the rematch by stopping Mercado. This proved to be a turning point in his career and he lost all his big or relevant fights after that. Despite not really having a win over a noted boxer (apart from a washed up Alex Ramos), Mercado's performance against Hopkins puts him on the boxing history map deservedly, as well as being Ecuador's only notable boxer for a long time.

Laurensio Segundo Mercado was born 5 January 1967 in Esmeraldas, a coastal town in northwest Ecuador. As amateur, he competed at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. There, he first defeated Kofi Emanuel Quaye of Ghana by KO 3, then Vaban Banko of Zaire/Congo on points, before losing to Martin Kittel of Sweden 2-3 on points. He went to USA to start his pro career, trained by Joe Goossen and managed by Alejandro Platon. He had his first fight there in July 1989 and beat Angel Cortez by TKO 4. His first 3 fights were fought at 168, but then he started campaigning at 160. He went 8-0 with 6 knockouts before losing to Michael Dale by TKO 2 on 3 July 1990. He rebounded with a win over unbeaten Adam Garland, by MD 10, and then scored his biggest victory when he stopped the faded former top contender Alex Ramos by TKO 4, 9 February '91 in Madison Square Garden. On 21 September that year came another loss, this time by a disqualification, after his headbutt (judged to be deliberate) broke his opponent's nose in the first round and he could not continue. 

On 14 May '93, he won the IBF Inter-Continental middle title by stopping journeyman Diosmel Anaya by a TKO 4. He made one defence before winning the WBA Fedelatin title, beating the former Reggie Johnson-challenger Wayne Harris by decision. He defended that with a win over the fringe contender Aquilino Asprilla of Panama, also on points, both fights happening in 1993. In 1994, after making another defence of his IBF IC title by TKO 9 versus Brinatty Maquilon, he was matched against Bernard Hopkins for the vacant IBF title, in a fight that would make him world famous. The fight was in Quito, Ecuadorian capital, on 17 December, and the place was packed with 15,000 spectators, all cheering for Mercado. This was the first time since anybody could remember that an Ecuadorian was fighting for a world title and in Ecuador. The fight started characteristically, with Hopkins opening strong in the first 3 rounds, before Mercado started landing some clean punches. In round 5, the two were exchanging when Mercado nailed Hopkins right on the chin with a great right uppercut. Hopkins first fell forward onto Mercado, who then pushed him and he hit the canvas, obviously very hurt. He was however known for his toughness and recuperative abilities, so he made it out of the round. In round 7, Hopkins again went down after again getting nailed with a right uppercut, this time after backing Mercado into a corner. Mercado tried to finish him off but was unable to and Hopkins came back into the fight later, however Mercado remained strong in the fight as well. 

In the end, judge Al Vito scored the fight for Hopkins by 114-111, which was not really fair, Francisco Hernandez had it 116-114 for Mercado and Paul Gibbs had it 113-113. Bobby Czyz scored it 114-112 for Hopkins, while I myself would have probably scored it for Mercado by a point, I thought Mercado won at least 5 rounds. Don King was promoting the fight however and so, there could be no verdict against the American fighter. The rematch was then mandated and happened on 29 April next year, this time in Landover, US. This time, for whatever reason, Mercado didn't look as good and was dominated for most of the first 6 rounds before being stopped in the 7th. Some have said that Hopkins was affected by the high altitude air in the first fight, explaining why Mercado was able to do so well. Whatever the truth, it would remain his peak moment, the controversial draw with Hopkins. He returned to the ring a year after the second Hopkins fight and beat Charlie Smith on points, now campaigning as a super middle. On 8 November that year, he was stopped against Joseph Kiwanuka, a solid fighter from Uganda, by TKO 4 in a fight for the NABF title.

He then somehow, despite that loss, got to fight Frankie Liles, the WBA-champion, on 19 April '97. Liles was actually a half inch taller, which was probably the first time for Mercado fighting a guy slightly taller. Like in the Hopkins rematch, Mercado was dominated and stopped by TKO 5. In 1998, he fought Eric Lucas for the WBC International title and was knocked out again in 5 rounds. It was obvious his prime had been spent. In 2000, he was stopped by TKO 6 by Merqui Sosa, in what was Sosa's last fight. That fight was at 175, as well as the 3 last ones he had, where he also got stopped, by Miguel Angel Jimenez (TKO 5), Danny Batchelder (TKO 5) and Rico Hoye (KO 1). The Hoye fight on 29 January 2003 became his last. Mercado retired aged 36 and with a record of 19 wins, 11 by ko, 10 losses and 2 draws. 

He lives today in Richmond Hill, New York. Segundo Mercado was one of those fighters that had one great performance and whether that came about because of his advantage when it comes to the altitude or not, he will forever be remembered as the first guy to knock down Bernard Hopkins-twice. This would not repeat until 2010, when Jean Pascal also knocked him down twice. Mercado was a tough and game brawler who was dangerous because of his exceptional height and reach and who also had enough power to knock most guys out, if he landed the right punches. Today, he doesn't get mentioned a lot, that is why he is a FORGOTTEN WARRIOR!

Segundo_Mercado.jpg

 

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- - Boz, don't know if you've seen both fights, but they're up there with the biggest of DKings greatest farces. Neither boxing nor King have any shame.

First fight Poppy beat up, manhandled, and knocked down, end of, period from start to finish. Never in the fight save some flashes.

2nd fight Poppy was more agressive and turning into a good fight when he tied up Seundo in the corner to stop him beating from up Poppy. Ref calls for a break that Poppy ignores, and then calls Segundo out by TKO. Minutes later when the TV crew show him the stoppage, my how crocodile teary he was saying he didn't know even though he was right on top of him...boo hoo hoo...

Coulda flushed and had a better result than that!!!

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 6/16/2023 at 5:26 PM, LondonRingRules said:

- - Boz, don't know if you've seen both fights, but they're up there with the biggest of DKings greatest farces. Neither boxing nor King have any shame.

First fight Poppy beat up, manhandled, and knocked down, end of, period from start to finish. Never in the fight save some flashes.

2nd fight Poppy was more agressive and turning into a good fight when he tied up Seundo in the corner to stop him beating from up Poppy. Ref calls for a break that Poppy ignores, and then calls Segundo out by TKO. Minutes later when the TV crew show him the stoppage, my how crocodile teary he was saying he didn't know even though he was right on top of him...boo hoo hoo...

Coulda flushed and had a better result than that!!!

No, I was gonna see the second fight but then something came up. I will. I have seen the first.

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