Kid Gavilan

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Name: Kid Gavilan
Alias: The Cuban Hawk
Birth Name: Gerardo Gonzalez
Born: 1926-01-06
Hometown: Havana, Cuba
Birthplace: Camaguey, Cuba
Died: 2003-02-13 (Age:77)
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 179cm
Reach: 180cm
Pro Boxer: Record

Career Review

  • Given the name Kid Gavilan by manager Fernando Balido. He was named after a cafe Balido owned, "El Gavilan" (The Hawk).
  • Often incorrectly credited as the inventor of the bolo punch.
  • Twice fought Sugar Ray Robinson, losing a ten-round unanimous decision in a non-title fight in 1948 and losing a fifteen-round unanimous decision for the world welterweight title in 1949.
  • In 1951, Sugar Ray Robinson vacated the world welterweight title after winning the world middleweight title. On May 18, 1951, Gavilan defeated Johnny Bratton to gain recognition as welterweight champion by the NYSAC and the NBA. In Europe, Charles Humez was the top man, and it was not until after Humez moved up to middleweight and Gavilan defeated Billy Graham on October 29, 1951 that Gavilan received worldwide recognition as the new champion.
  • On February 4, 1952, Gavilan defended the title against Bobby Dykes in the first racially mixed bout in Florida. More than 17,000 fans crowded into Miami Stadium to watch Gavilan win by a split decision.
  • On September 18, 1953, Gavilan defeated Carmen Basilio by a split decision to retain the welterweight title.
  • On April 2, 1954, Gavilan challenged Carl (Bobo) Olson for the world middleweight title and lost by a majority decision.
  • On October 20, 1954, Gavilan defended the welterweight title against Johnny Saxton. Saxton's manager was known gangster Blinky Palermo, and rumors circulated before the fight that Gavilan would need a knockout to win. Although 20 out of 22 ringside writers scored the fight for Gavilan, the decision and the title went to Saxton.

Honors & Recognition


After his death from a heart attack in 2003, Gavilan was buried in a pauper's grave in Our Lady of Mercy Cemetery in Miami, Florida. In 2005, The Ring 8 Veterans Association and a group that included Angelo Dundee, Roberto Duran, Emile Griffith, Ray Mancini, James (Buddy) McGirt, Leon Spinks, and Mike Tyson paid to have Gavilan's body exhumed and moved to another section of the cemetery and have a memorial headstone erected to honor his contributions to boxing.