27.05.08 – By Ted Sares – On August 1, 2003, Manuel “Shotgun” Gomez, 23-10, met Jeffrey “The Thrill” Hill, 23-3, in Victoria, Texas. The fight lasted 2 minutes and 45 seconds, but there was far more action packed into that short time than occurs in most 12 round fights. Gomez had once gone 10 competitive rounds with Cuban Diosbelys Hurtado and took Sugar Shane Mosley into the 11th round before being iced. He also had upset Michael Lerma by stoppage back in 1997, so he was no one to be taken for granted..
He was a dangerous contender with a deceptive record. He endured punishment from heavy handed African Kofi Jantuah for nine rounds before catching the tiring Jantuah with a picture perfect hook in the 10th and final round in another closet classic.
As for Hill, his level of opposition was light years below that of the rugged Mexican brawler. Moreover, he had far fewer rounds under his belt. In fact, nine of his previous 25 fights did not go beyond the first round. Gomez was coming off of a 6 -round demolition of Arturo Reyes, 21-9, while Hill’s last fight had been a 3-round blow out of Angel Beltre, 27-17.
“Shotgun” came out blasting “The Thrill” with stiff jabs, crunching rights followed by thrilling left hooks to the body in typical malefic Mexican fashion. He appeared to have Hill, with a badly bruised face, ready to go at the .50 mark when all of a sudden, Hill unleashed three consecutive jackhammer rights that floored Gomez. When they resumed, Hill launched an all-out savage attack that would have taken out most men, but Gomez, on the verge of going to Shotgun Dreamland, somehow held on absorbing incredible punishment.
With seconds to go in the round, Gomez caught Hill with a short uppercut that slowed things down for just a moment, but Hill, unfazed, kept on coming poised to end matters. All of a sudden, Gomez cracked Hill with a rattling straight right that had all of his leverage behind it. Hill went down like he had been sapped by a Chicago cop taking out a yippee. The Thrill had lived up to his nickname, but things did not end like he planned, because Gomez had lived up to his as well.
Anybody lucky enough to see this one will never forget it.