Quijano: Johnny be good-A A +A
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
IT’S A tale as old as the sport itself. Young, undefeated champion faces veteran former world title-holder.
Young champ is supposed to roll over his opponent who is there purportedly to provide him with a few exciting, challenging rounds before he folds.
Unfortunately, for young champ Abner Mares, someone dropped the ball and forgot to explain to Johnny Gonzales his role.
CAREERS. To put things in proper perspective, let’s take a look at their respective careers.
Gonzales became a world champion in 2005 when he defeated Thai legend Ratanachai Sor Vorapin in 7 rounds and wrested away the WBO Bantamweight crown.
He defended the crown against the best of the weight class, including past and future champions Marc Johnson and Fernando Montiel but was derailed when he lost via TKO to Israel Vasquez in 2006.
He bounced back nicely with a win over former world champ Irene Pacheco but lost to our very own Gerry Penalosa in 2007.
He then went on a 6 fight victory streak before he lost to Toshiaki Nishioka in 2009 (this is the same fighter Nonito Donaire beat in 2012)
Again he revived his career with a 12-fight win streak with 11 via the short route but lost in 8 rounds to Daniel Ponce de Leon in 2012. He had two more victories before the Mares knockout.
Mares on the other hand, came under the limelight in 2010 when he defeated the formidable Vic Darchinyan via split Decision.
He then became the IBF bantamweight when he defeated Joseph Agbeko twice.
He followed that up with a victory over Eric Morel (who defeated Gerry Penalosa in 2010 via controversial decision)
He has won two titles in as many weight divisions, collecting the WBC superbantamweight title by defeating Anselmo Moreno and the WBC featherweight crown by defeating Daniel Ponce de Leon via TKO in round 9. In that fight, he knocked down de Leon in rounds 2 and 9.
It was a compelling matchup between two talented fighters who have fought the best, but coming into the match Mares was the overwhelming favorite.
Mares was a brutal puncher and after having bested elite fighters in two divisions, and it was quite understandable how the older Gonzales-who had been considering retirement and had been stopped several times before, was expected to fold.
THE FIGHT. In an action-packed first round, Mares came forward and dictated the pace against his taller opponent. But with about 20 seconds left, Mares was caught napping with his right hand down and Gonzales found his jaw with a perfectly timed left hook.
He went crashing down to the shock and consternation of the pro-Mares crowd.
Mares got up glassy eyed at the count of six but Gonzales was on him immediately. A follow-up barrage took him down again and the ref waived it off at the count of three.
THOUGHTS. This fight is clearly in the running for “Upset of the Year” honors. While Gonzales is certainly no pushover, the manner in which he eviscerated the highly-touted Mares was totally unexpected.
You might want to know that Mares was brought in as a sparring partner for Gonzales back in 2006 when the latter was preparing for Israel Vasquez.
Also, Gonzales’ trainer for this fight was none other than the legendary Nacho Beristain who had trained Mares early in his career.
All these can be factored in when you dissect how easy it was for Gonzales to defeat Mares. Maybe he knew Mares too well like the back of his hand?
Also, the Gonzales’ victory indirectly inures to the benefit of Gerry Penalosa who knocked out Gonzales with a left hook to the liver in 2007. Gerry’s stock clearly rises with his victim’s recent accomplishment.
You will also recall that Mares was being considered as a viable opponent for Nonito Donaire Jr. but that matchup fizzled out. Now that both of them are coming off loses, expect them to meet up anytime soon.
LAST ROUND. It’s on Jhoan Abellana-Bragat of the Office of the Ombudsman Visayas who celebrates her birthday this week. Cheers!
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 28, 2013.