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By Jim Amato
Sometimes it isn't just talent that makes someone successful inside the ropes. A generous dash of luck usually helps. Also being in the right place at the right time doesn't hurt. Unfortunately for Gregorio Peralta of Argentina on this occasion two out of three isn't good. He had talent and lots of it but he lacked luck and the ability to be in the right place.
Peralta was a throw back to the cagey old veteran boxers of decades before. He campaigned successfully in two weight divisions through out the sixties and early seventies. As a lightweight, he carried a pretty solid wallop to go along with his uncanny ring generalship. He defeated champion Willie Pastrano in a non-title bout to qualify for a 1964 title shot. Pastrano fought maybe the best fight of his career, but Peralta stayed right with him until a cut forced a stoppage in Willie's favor. Gregorio would never receive another attempt at a championship.
Gregorio at this time held the Argentine heavyweight title. He decided to campaign strictly as a heavyweight. He out-pointed Roberto Davila retaining the South American heavyweight championship only three months after losing to Pastrano. He lost a twelve round decision to fellow countryman Oscar Bonevena in September of 1965 prompting a twenty month layoff. Returning in 1967, Gregorio won 26 of 29 fights with only draws against Chuck Leslie, Vittorio Saraudi, and Bonevena marring the streak. In 1969 plans were being made for Peralta to challenge W.B.A. heavyweight champion Jimmy Ellis in Buenos Aries. Ellis was on a collision course with Joe Frazier and he wanted to make a defense of his title before his showdown with "Smokin' Joe". For whatever reasons the proposed Ellis-Peralta bout fell through. Ellis went on the fight and lost to Frazier. On the under-card of Frazier-Ellis, Peralta met 1968 Olympic Gold Medalist George Foreman. This was probably Greg's shining moment. Taking everything a still green but powerful Foreman could offer, Peralta stayed in the bout with an exhibition of guile and guts. Greg lost a tough decision to George, but he won over the Madison Square Garden crowd with his performance.
In 1971, Foreman finally caught up to Greg in the tenth round of their rematch to score a knockout. Greg then went on a successful tour of Europe, in which he scored an important kayo victory over Jose Urtain. On August 1, 1972, in Barcelona, Spain, Greg met Muhammad Ali in an eight round exhibition bout giving a good account of himself. In 1973, Greg twice fought the dangerous Ron Lyle losing a decision in Denver and then holding Lyle to a draw in Frankfurt, Germany. Eventually Greg faded into retirement.
I wonder how Greg would have made out if he would have met Ellis in front of thousands of cheering countrymen? Whenever anyone mentions great heavyweights from Argentina you're sure to hear Luis Firpo and Bonevena. Please don't forget a fine fighting machine named Gregorio Peralta.
Here are some key bouts on Peralta's ledger:
6-15-1960 Mauro Mina KO by 8 Lima Peru
8-4-1962 Jose Giorgetti W-12 MarDelPlata, Argentina
(Argentine Heavyweight Title)
9-20-1963 Willie Pastrano W-10 Miami Beach
11-15-1963 Wayne Thorton W-10 New York
1-24-1964 Wayne Thorton W-10 New York
4-10-1964 Willie Pastrano KO by 6 New Orleans
(World Light Heavyweight Title)
7-18-1964 Roberto Davila W-15 Buenos Aries
(South American Heavyweight Title)
9-19-1964 Mauro Mina W-10 Buenos Aries
9-4-1965 Oscar Bonevena L-12 Buenos Aries
7-15-1967 Andreas Selps W-10 Buenos Aries
8-8-1969 Oscar Bonevena D-10 Montevideo, Argentina
2-16-1970 George Foreman L-10 New York
5-10-1971 George Foreman KO by 10Oakland
(North American Heavyweight Title)
10-8-1971 Jose Urtain KO-8 Madrid, Spain
6-9-1972 Ray Anderson L-10 Madrid, Spain
8-1-1972 Muhammad Ali EXH-8 Barcelona, Spain
5-12-1973 Ron Lyle L-10 Denver
10-26-1973 John Griffin KO-5 Cologne, Germany
11-17-1973 Ron Lyle D-10 Frankfurt, Germany
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