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Jonathan Gonzalez: “I'm going to be the moneymaker at flyweight”

Photo © Jose Perez and Joel Colon/PR Best Boxing Promotions
Photo © Jose Perez and Joel Colon/PR Best Boxing Promotions

By Anson Wainwright


Last year wasn’t a good one for Puerto Rican boxing, with Miguel Cotto, Juan Manuel Lopez and Ivan Calderon, the country’s showpiece fighters, all losing, leaving Roman Martinez as the sole world champion on the island. Many fans questioned where the next batch of top drawer fighters would come from. Heck, once highly-regarded prospect Thomas Dulorme lost in 2012, one less light shone bright. That light happens to be flyweight Jonathan Gonzalez. Still only 21, “Bomba” comes to the pro game with an extensive amateur pedigree and is currently 11-0 with 10 KOs and one no-contest on his record. He fought in early February when he took a significant step up against former three-time world title challenger Omar Salado. Unfortunately, midway through the opening round, Gonzalez landed a rabbit punch which ended the contest when Salado was unable to continue. Not wasting any time, Gonzalez will return on the 23rd March when he meets Joseph Rios in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico. In less than two years as a pro, he has developed quickly and is already ranked #14 by the WBO. In the lighter weights, Gonzalez appears to be one to keep an eye on.
 
Anson Wainwright - You recently fought Omar Salado. The fight was ruled a first round no-contest. Could you talk us through what happened?

Jonathan Gonzalez - I felt good for the first minute of the fight; I was in full control. He lead in with his head down and without intention, I hit him in the back of his head. I feel like the punch wasn’t damaging enough for him not to continue but that’s part of this sport.

AW - How are you now? When are you hoping to next be back in action?
 
JG - I’m feeling good under these rare circumstances and I’m hoping to be back in action on the 23rd of March.
 
AW - What are your goals for 2013?

JG - I’m looking forward to two or three more exciting fights and then, hopefully, given an opportunity for a world title by the end of the year.
 
AW - What are your strengths as a fighter and what areas do you feel you perhaps need to work on a little?

JG - I believe that my hand speed and footwork are my best qualities. If I had an area to improve, I feel my aggressiveness would be it. At times, I need to be more aggressive.
 
AW - Who are the key members of your team? Also where do you regularly train?

JG - My trainer is my father, Luis Gonzalez. My assistant trainer is Elliot Ramos and my manager is Orlando Pinero. Without any of them, I wouldn’t be in the good position I am in today. I train at the Cheo Aponte Gym in Caguas, Puerto Rico.
 
AW - You had a very impressive amateur career. Could you tell us about some of those achievements? What titles/tournaments did you win? What was your final record?
 
JG - Gold medal in the 2008 World Youth Championships in Mexico. Bronze medallist in the 2010 Pan American Boxing Games in Ecuador. Gold medallist in the Central American and Caribbean Games in Mayaguez, 2010. Four-time National champion 2008, ‘09, ‘10, ‘11. I had more than 130 fights as amateur.
 
AW - Why did you decided to turn pro a year before the Olympics?

JG - I decided to turn pro because the Department of Athletics in Puerto Rico wasn’t paying me enough money. Then Top Rank made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.
 
AW - Can you tell us about your early years growing up in Caguas, Puerto Rico and how you first became interested in boxing?

JG - I started training at the young age of five or six, following the footsteps of my father, who is also my trainer. Growing up in Caguas was pretty rough but that made me train much harder to succeed in life. I love my town and everything it’s taught me growing up.
 
AW - Though it’s early days, I’m sure you have one eye on becoming a world champion one day. How far do you feel you are from fighting for a world title?

JG - I believe that I’m knocking on the door of a world title fight. With a few more fights under my résumé, I’ll be ready to fight the top guys.

AW - Away from boxing, can you tell us about yourself as a person? What do you enjoy doing and what are your interests?
 
JG - I enjoy spending time with my beautiful family. My daughter, son and wife are what push me towards my goals every single day.
 
AW - A year ago, when Juan Manuel Lopez lost his rematch to Orlando Salido and Miguel Cotto lost a couple of times in 2012, as did Ivan Calderon, fans questioned who the island’s next star may be. What do you say to those fans?

JG - Puerto Rico has always had great champions and the losses by Juan Manuel Lopez, Miguel Cotto and Ivan Calderon left us without world champions. I would love to be mentioned in the same sentence with those guys and I feel like I’m among one of the best prospects Puerto Rico has today.

AW - Growing up, who was your boxing hero and why? Who do you admire today?
 
JG - Like I’ve mentioned before, Puerto Rico has always had great world champions but the one fighter that has always stood out to me from the rest was Wilfredo Gomez. I loved the way he intimidated his opponents and the power he had in both hands. In today’s boxing, I really enjoy watching Floyd Mayweather. His style, his speed, his power are all attributes that I admire. He is also a great businessman.

AW - In closing, do you have a message for the flyweight division?

JG - I’m going to be the moneymaker in my weight class. All the fighters in the top 10, keep an eye open for Jonathan “Bomba” Gonzalez. I come ready every time and with the combination of speed, power and experience, I can make it a short night for any fighter.
 
Questions and or comments can be sent to Anson at elraincoat@live.co.uk and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright. Anson is also a contributor and ratings panelist for The Ring magazine.
 
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