By Jim Amato

Bob Foster won the light heavyweight championship of the world on May 24th, 1968. He would dominate the division until 1974. Only once during that time did Bob lose possession of his title. Well in reality it was taken from him. The World Boxing Association in their divine wisdom stripped Bob of his title recognition. In their eyes the winner of a bout between long time contender Jimmy Dupree and Venezuela’s Vincente Rondon would be declared the new WBA champion. Needless to say Mr. Foster was not happy about this situation and it was not wise to make Bob angry.

Rondon was a very fine fighter who started as a middleweight in 1965. By 1968 he had defeated former champion Luis Rodriguez and the legendary Bennie Briscoe. He would lose to both in return bouts. In 1969 he won a decision over Jose Luis Garcia for the Venezuelan light heavyweight title. Garcia would later blossom into a heavyweight and knock out Ken Norton.

In 1970 Rondon defeated Roger Rouse and that led to his 1971 match with Jimmy Dupree. Rondon halted the respected Dupree in six to win the WBA title. That was the beginning of a whirlwind year for Rondon. He would KO Pierro DelPapa in one to defend his crown. Next he outpointed Ohio’s John Griffin in a non title affair. Then he fought off the challenge of Eddie ” Bossman ” Jones to retain his title. Next he outscored Germany’s Conny Velensek in ten. He then battered Gomeo Brennan into submission in fourteen to keep his title. Vincente finished 1971 by halting Akron, Ohio’s former middleweight contender Doyle Baird in eight. That was some year for Rondon and he was probably the biggest threat to Foster’s supremacy. They had to fight.

When this bout was made I remember thinking no, no, no…Bob was a fearsome puncher and he was at his peak. Rondon, as good as he was did not stand a chance. Well my intuition was right on this one. Bob put the big sleep on Rondon in round two. As they say, ” The Ref could have counted to a hundred “.

Rondon would come back as a heavyweight but Ron Lyle took him out in two. To Rondon’s credit he went ten rounds with the ” Puncher Of The Century “, Earnie Shavers. He then went the distance with hard punching Jose Urtain.

Vincente would return to meeting light heavyweights but he had become a stepping stone for Len ” Stinger ” Hutchins, Tom Bogs and John Conteh. He tested the heavyweight waters in 1974 being banged out by Rodney Bobick and Joe ‘ King ” Roman.

That was it. Vincente retired with a respectable 39-15-1 record. Looking back at his bout with Foster when it was first made my reaction was in the words of Mr. T…” I pity the poor fool “. Mr. Foster was that good !

Jim Amato

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