Photo: Big Joe Miranda
Former world light heavyweight champion Julio Gonzalez passed away at the age of 35 after a motorcycle accident on Saturday in Mexico. Word is he was hit by a hit-and-run drunk driver and it took more than an hour to get help to him. The former world champion was working at his father’s ranch near Guerrero Negro, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Julio (41-8, 25 KOs) shocked the world in October 2003 when he won the WBO light heavyweight world championship dethroning long-reigning ring legend Dariusz Michalczewski in Germany. His 2001 slugfest with Julian Letterlough is considered to be one of the greatest fights of the last decade.
“Julio always had a big smile and was always happy to see you,” remembered Fightnews.com photographer and longtime friend Big Joe Miranda. “He was known for his hard work in the gym. I once asked him why he was so hard on all his sparring partners. He responded ‘it’s my job.’ He didn’t want anyone to think they could beat him.” He leaves behind a wife and two children, as well as countless friends. Rest in peace champ.