Nobody gave Jhonny Gonzales much of a chance of defeating defending WBC featherweight champion Abner Mares last weekend. Gonzales, 31, with 62 fights on his resume, was on the back nine of his career. Mares, 27, looked to be in his prime.
In boxing, as in life, words are cheap.
Gonzales (55-8, 47 KOs) proved this point emphatically when he knocked out Mares (27-1-1, 14 KOs) in the opening round at a stunned StubHub Center in Carson, California.
The bout was telecast live on Showtime Championship Boxing.
Gonzales, with a height advantage of three inches, said before the bout he’d use his jab. After a tentative first minute, Mares clipped Gonzales with his left. Gonzales wasn’t jabbing much, but a short right hand landed.
Mares stalked forward and opened up with a combination. He seemed to be warming up until Gonzales stepped in and fired a short left hook. The punch clipped Mares on the left side of his chin - sending him down like a man with no legs.
The defending champion got up and tried to shake off the effects of the blow. Gonzales went right after him, firing a barrage of punches. Mares tried to stop the onslaught with his own shots. A big left hook, followed by a right dropped Mares for the second time.
Referee Jack Reiss looked into Mares eyes and waved the fight off.
The time was 2:55 of round one.
“Nobody believed in me,” said Gonzales in the ring. “Only my corner thought I could win this fight.”
“You win some, you lose some,” said the classy Mares. “That’s the way it goes.”
Gonzales has now collected titles in three weight divisions.
After initially saying he wanted a rest, Mares exercised his contractual right to an immediate rematch.
Frank Espinoza, Mares' manager hopes the bout can take place in December. As of this writing, talks are ongoing.