The sport of boxing is littered with examples of either lost talent, wasted talent or never fully realized talent. The often used adage says boxing is a sport that is 90-percent mental. But perhaps making it to the top is in fact reliant on 90-percent luck. Some fighters are seemingly blessed with an abundance of the stuff, others never seem able to catch a break.
Which brings us to long-campaigning middleweight warrior, Jorge Amparo. This talented and seriously tough fighter from the Dominican Republic was good enough to compete at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, as a light-middleweight. Unfortunately, not everyone can bring home the gold, the glory and the fortune a Sugar Ray Leonard can. Amparo, fearless and determined, went pro to no fan-fair in October of 1983; this over seven years since his amateur career pinnacle (although Amparo did pick up a medal at The Pan Am Games).
Thrown in with name after name, all of them having better people looking out for them than he did, the solid, naturally aggressive fighter who chugged forward in each and every fight he had fought hard – as in HARD.
Amparo’s debut? A fight with a 15-0 John Jarvis – a points loss. Six fights later, Amparo held James Kinchen to a draw. No-one really felt Jorge should have gone home without a win. Two fights on, Amparo went the distance with Michael Nunn. Then Amparo extended Milton McCrory, then Iran Barkley, then Lindell Holmes, then Juan Carlos Gimenez.
There was the odd win in-between, but Amparo, in the space of just four years, had given four world champions (either former or future) sheer hell. Which brings us to the Barkley fight of April, 1987. A genuine closet classic, this fight (freely available on You Tube) is a must-see slugfest. Barkley, over a year away from his stunning KO win over Thomas Hearns, had to dig DEEP to get past Amparo, and this “The Blade” barely did. It was two-way action all the way, with a busted up Barkley quite literally running for survival in the later rounds. Amparo deserved far, far better than the ludicrously wide decision the three judges turned in against him.
Amparo rumbled, but he didn’t grumble. A fight with Nigel Benn followed, then a return with Kinchen and then a battle with a 5-0 Earl Butler; all three failed to dent Amparo, each fight going the distance. What was this man made of! Only naturally bigger men, two of them in fact – Brent Kosolofski and, in Jorge’s final fight, Julio Cesar Gonzalez – ever managed to stop this tank from the Dominican Republic.
Of all the fine, tough, brave, talented and deserving fighters never able to reach the heights they coulda, woulda, shoulda done, the name Jorge Amparo has to be near the very top. Do yourself a favor and check out his near-miss of a winning war with Barkley right now.
Jorge Amparo – 8-15-1(6).