“Cobrita” had an accomplished career in which he went 49-5-1 (33) and captured the WBC 126-pound belt in memorable fashion, stopping Kevin Kelley on HBO in January of 1995 in an entertaining affair. Just look at his BoxRec page (http://boxrec.com/list_bouts.php?human_id=1198&cat=boxer) and you’ll see he fought a host of good fighters during his career including the likes of Kelley, Cesar Soto, Luisito Espinoza, Manuel Medina, Steve Forbes, Stevie Johnston and Orlando Salido before calling it quits in 2003.
However, boxing wasn’t Junior’s original athletic pursuit.
“Actually, I didn’t want to go into boxing. I was a soccer player but I had it in the blood,” he explained, “so I came back when I was 11 years old to boxing and I decided to go 100 percent.” So when did he realize boxing was his true calling? Well, he probably received one too many yellow cards. “When I played soccer, I was too aggressive and all that, so I thought, ‘Oh, maybe if I’m that aggressive, I need to work on boxing,’ and I liked it better.”
Right now, Gonzalez Jr. has a mark of 22-0-2 (14) at age 21 and is considered a bona fide bantamweight prospect.
His father says through Ricky Mota (who advises Gonzalez Jr.), “It gives me a lot of satisfaction that my son is fighting and doing things well. It’s a very tough career but I see how he’s responding to the sport, his dedication, so I support it.”
Can the son surpass the father’s ring legacy? When asked about Junior’s upside, Senior states, “I’m actually very happy with everything he’s done. He’s doing a lot better than I thought he was going to do with how his career’s going. I believe he has a lot of God-given talent. I’ve seen it in the ring now and the dedication that he puts into it.”
Speaking of that, this isn’t Chavez Jr. You never have to look worry about this young man not showing up to the gym and putting in a day’s work. His workouts don’t take place on marble floors near the dishwasher and microwave.
“He’s got a great work ethic. He’s dedicated to it. That’s not a thing we have issues with. The kid never gives us problems for anything. He’s very dedicated and talented,” said Mota. But perhaps he has no choice given his father is his co-trainer. It’s a dynamic he admits can be rather uncomfortable. “Sometimes you’re not in the mood and they keep on telling you stuff,” said Gonzalez Jr.
The father says, in the gym, family ties play a secondary role. He states, “I’m more of a trainer because as a father, you can’t pamper him in this sport. I know I have to be hard on him. Right here in the gym, I have to be a trainer with him. I can’t be a father to him because this is a tough sport. If I do, it’s going to hurt him.”
Asked about the burden of following in his father’s footsteps, the second generation “Cobrita” says, ‘It’s not the pressure; I like being his son. It’s a great thing to be; I know everyone comes and wants to beat me because of the name but y’ know what? I like being it; that’s why I prepare better than him and just go and fight. That’s it.”
“I see a great future ahead of him,” said Mota. “He’s young; he’s dedicated. He’s got all the abilities; he’s a natural. I think it’s in his blood as well. I see a great future ahead of him and on Saturday, he’s fighting a former world champion with a lot of experience who’s never been stopped. I think it’s going to be a great test for him to see where he is.” As for how fast Gonzalez Jr. will be moved, Mota stated, “He’s got 25 fights already; he just turned 21. We’re bringing him up right and all the opponents we’re putting in front of him, he’s knocking them out, making statements. He’s not just beating them.”
But the fighter himself is ambitious. He wants to go places sooner rather than later.
“Maybe in one year I could be - if I’m working like I am right now or ever harder - maybe a world champion already, maybe two or three defenses. It depends on what my team says.”
From his corner, the father will be watching - and it’s much more difficult than his own days inside the ring.
He admits, “It’s much tougher to see my son fight by far.”
So will Leo Santa Cruz actually face Carl Frampton?...Sergio Mora says he is facing Samuel Rogers on May 31st at the Las Vegas’ Tropicana Hotel on the HBO Latino card...Does Champ Bailey have anything left for the Saints?...Was it that long ago when Chris Johnson was rushing for 2,000 yards for the Titans? …I can be reached at email@example.com and I tweet at www.twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing, where you can discuss our content with Maxboxing readers as well as chime in via our fully interactive article comments sections.