'I didn't reach my full potential', says Jan Bergman

Jan Bergman. / Veli Nhlapo
Jan Bergman. / Veli Nhlapo

Jan "Kid Gavilan" Bergman says he did not reach his full potential as a professional boxer and that was because he was never given enough time to prepare for a world title.

Bergman eventually won the lesser recognised WBU welterweight belt on May 2 2001. "It was always a last-minute call," he said this week.

He had previously failed twice to win the IBF strap from Kosta Tszyu and Zab Judah before stopping Guillermo Mosquera for the WBU belt in Brakpan.

"The feeling was overwhelming irrespective of the title (WBU)," said the 50-year- old retired fighter who now hones the skills of aspirant boxers.

"I had enough time to prepare for this one, so I knew who I was fighting and I had the time to study him."

He defended the title twice and faced Englishman Jawaid Khaliq for the IBO belt.

Bergman lost by a stoppage in Brakpan in 2003. Trainer Nick Durandt manned Khaliq's corner and victory was sweet music to his ears.

That was because Bergman had badly knocked out Durandt's charge Joseph "Smokin Joe" Makaringe in three rounds before he fought Mosquera.

The damage to Makaringe was caused by Bergman's famous punch - the left hook - which made him to be known as the "Left Hook Specialist".

"I did not want to fight Joseph because he was my sparring partner. But Nick insisted. I warned Joseph not to take the fight but he was scared of Nick. So I went in there and destroyed him," said Bergman.

Bergman, whose career began under Bokkie Martins, won the Transvaal, SA and WBC International junior welterweight titles before they failed in their attempt to dethrone Tszyu in 1996.

"I had been inactive for almost a year when I got the offer to fight Kosta. I caught him with my best shots but he was a rock," said Bergman, who tasted defeat after being undefeated in 32 fights.

Bergman fought seven more time and lost once to Junior Winter before meeting Judah, who stopped him in their IBF fight in the US.

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