CARSON, Calif. – An overly technical bantamweight world title bout angered the fans with its deliberate tact, but a welterweight world title elimination match between undefeated fighters didn’t disappoint at the Home Depot Center on Saturday.
WBO bantamweight titleholder Jhonny Gonzalez proved that the bigger man beats the smaller man in winning a split-decision victory over WBO junior bantamweight titleholder Fernando Montiel who attempted to win his third weight division. But fans booed the slow pace throughout the 12 rounds.
“I knew it wouldn’t be a knockout,” said Gonzalez 33-4, 28 KOs), who lives in Mexico City. “He’s a great fighter.”
Fans were upset at Montiel’s safety-first style. Gonzalez was the more aggressive but most of the exchanges took place in the last 10 seconds of every round.
Beginning in round one, Montiel settled into a counterpunch mode and almost never fired the first punch of any exchange. Gonzalez moved forward but was cautious about falling into any traps set by his fellow countryman.
“That’s the style he always fights,” said Gonzalez who shrugged off the boos. “The people here don’t know my nor his style in this country. They expected more blows and body shots.”
At the beginning of the fight a crowd of 2,952 at the tennis court transformed into a boxing event expressed their discontent with the slow-moving affair. Midway through the bout, less than 1,000 people remained to see the final round. Most had moved over to the other complex with the Chivas soccer team was playing a regular season game.
“I knew I had to keep my distance,” said Montiel (32-2-1, 24 KOs) who lives in Los Mochis, Mexico. “I’d like a rematch.”
Most of the fans would voiced their opinion in the form of boos, few want to see Montiel in the ring again. Gonzalez was also booed for his lack of pressure.
“I didn’t want to catch a hard blow,” Gonzalez said.
The judges scored it 118-111, 116-112 for Gonzalez and 115-113 for Montiel.
As part of HBO’s Boxing After Dark, the main event should have provided a showcase for the smaller weight divisions, instead it stunk up the joint.
“There’s nothing I could do in a fight like that,” insisted Gonzalez. “A win was the most important thing”
Gonzalez said he’ll fight one more time at bantamweight and then move up to fight another Mexican with a bantamweight world title named Rafael Marquez, the IBF titleholder.
“We’re going to fight after one more defense at this level,” Gonzalez said.
Williams vs. Matthysse
In a welterweight contest for the vacant NABO title, two fighters who had never tasted defeat entered the ring and Paul “The Punisher” Williams emerged the winner with a mixture of size, speed and precision that Argentina’s power-punching Walter Matthysse (25-1, 24 KOs) could not handle.
From the first bell Williams, out of Augusta, Georgia, brought his long jab to work and kept the heavy-handed Matthysse from landing more than one punch at a time.
“I like big punchers,” said Williams (29-0, 21 KOs), who slowly began dominating the action by the sixth round with his jabs and smooth combinations. “Every day I train to fight guys like that.”
The Argentinian bomber had a good second round as he fired and landed awkward lefts and rights from his waist. It took Williams a couple of more rounds to figure out where the punches were coming from. Meanwhile he ate some heavy blows from Matthysse but was hardly phased.
“I knew he want to land that left hook,” said Williams. “From the tapes of his fight, I could tell he likes to throw the left.”
Using his longer arms and three-inch height advantage, Williams kept Matthysse at arm’s length and held whenever the Argentine slugger got too close.
After the fourth round, Williams began to slide into a rhythm and never looked back as he dominated the granite-chinned Matthysse who ran out of answers for the nonstop punching Georgia fighter.
“I was in a good rhythm,” Williams acknowledged.
A blistering barrage of punches by Georgia’s Williams forced referee Jack Reiss to halt the fight at 1:56 of the 10th round.
“Antonio Margarito or anybody with a big belt is good for me,” said Williams of his next opponent. “Bring on Arturo Gatti, Carlos Baldomir or Floyd Mayweather. It doesn’t matter. I train too hard. I want to fight somebody.”
They changed opponents just before the fight but WBO Daniel Ponce De Leon (28-1, 26 KOs) didn’t seem to mind as he pummeled Mexico City’s Gerson Guerrero (31-7, 23 KOs) within two rounds. Everything was going fine for Guerrero until he smiled at the champion after an exchange. Ponce De Leon stepped up the attack and dropped him in the first and second rounds. A right uppercut followed by a left hand at 1:50 of the second round dropped Guerrero into a bloody heap. Referee Pat Russell stopped the fight.
Ponce De Leon said that an offer from young Filipino phenom Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista has been made and he’s willing to take it.
La Habra’s Enrique Ornelas (24-2, 14 KOs) dominated Oxnard’s Sergio Rios (18-4, 16 KOs) in a six round middleweight contest. There were no knockdowns in the fight and the judges scored it 80-72 for Ornelas.
Filipino sensation Z Gorres (24-1-1, 12 KOs) spent 10 rounds battering Pedro Rincon Miranda (30-11-2, 14 KOs) of Colombia but couldn’t put him away. Despite two knockdowns, one in the first and the 10th, Miranda refused to quit. But the judges scored it unanimously 100-87 for Gorres.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV