CARSON, CA — Jhonny Gonzalez has shaken up the boxing landscape at 122 and 126 pounds with a shocking first round knockout of previously undefeated Abner Mares to capture the WBC featherweight title.
Coming off a bad KO loss to Daniel Ponce de Leon, the 31-year old Gonzalez was viewed as a solid but ultimately overmatched and past prime fighter heading into the bout. Mares tried to confirm that in the figh’s first minute by getting off with a quick flurry of power shots to the body and head, forcing Gonzalez to retreat. Once there was sufficient space between them, Gonzalez shot a wide, arcing left hook that sailed past Mares’s guard to land flush on the chin.
Mares toppled backward to the canvas, looking bewilderd as the referee counted in his face. Mares rose and loudly affirmed several times his desire to continue as his limbs did a slow, spasmic dance. Referee Jack Reiss gave the champion the benefit of the doubt.
Gonzalez did not.
“I knew that Mares [after the first knockdown] was hurt and that sooner or later the fight would be over,” explained Gonzalez afterward.
Within seconds, Gonzalez tore into Mares with more hooks. Mares, in his retaliatory attempts and reaction to the punches he was receiving, looked to be moving in slow motion, as if his body couldn’t register the speed of the devastation it was receiving. Another left hook started Mares’ second descent to the canvas with a right cross snapping his head back mid-fall for good measure.
The disposed champion hit the canvas with his right knee folded under him. He immediately tried to rise on instinct, but this time Reiss recognized that all reasonable doubt had been removed and wisely saved Mares for further damage.[youtube http://youtu.be/U1s1r690ShY]
THE POUND 4 POUND CURSE: Oh, the irony. This past Tuesday, one of the topics I posed on the Bad Culture Boxing Show was whether Abner Mares was #2 P4P (as Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer declared on a recent conference call). I said no, simply because he didn’t get the chance to unify against Nonito Donaire and/or Guillermo RIgondeaux. Ryan Bivins of Sweetboxing made this comment about my stance.
— Ryan Bivins (@sweetboxing) August 21, 2013
Based on the way those Gonzalez left hooks were landing, Mr. Bivins has a salient point. However, I don’t think this was a case of Mares believing his own hype and paying for it. He just ran into a fighter that exploited a big hole in his game.
REMATCH?: Mares didn’t rule it out in his post-fight interview, but didn’t exactly demand it either. He spoke about spending time with his family and letting Golden Boy decide when he’ll fight again. There is a rematch clause, but I don’t think anyone would begrudge Mares finally taking a soft touch for the first time in years.
As for Gonzalez, I’d love to see him try to get revenge on Ponce de Leon.
SANTA CRUZ MOWS DOWN TERRAZAS: Leo Santa Cruz won his second world in as many weight classes with a three-round massacre of Victor Terrazas. It’s becoming very apparent that anyone trying to trade punches and bang with Santa Cruz is suicidal. Terrazas tried it and found his right eye swollen shut after just two rounds from the assortment of left hooks and uppercuts. The outside wasn’t much better, as Santa Cruz was timing him with overhand rights.
A left hook on Terrazas’ damaged right eye crumpled him to the floor. Terrazas made a second canvas trip moments later and capitulated by telling referee Lou Moret that he couldn’t see out of right eye.
Santa Cruz revealed in his post-fight interview he’d like to make at least two defenses of his newly won WBC super bantamweight title before moving up again. That ensures he’ll be kept away from Gonzalez (which is wise at this point).
Sure, it would have been great to see Santa Cruz and Mares meet down the road as undefeated fighters, but when you’re consistently fighting elite competition, that ‘0″ will go at some point.[youtube http://youtu.be/O-_PRfYWs1Y]