By Ryan Maquiñana
Unbeaten middleweight Brandon Gonzales has signed a multiyear promotional pact with Goossen Tutor and Antonio Leonard.
“Starting my first fight on ShoBox is a great first step with my new team,” Gonzales (14-0, 10 KOs) said. “I feel confident in James Prince, Antonio Leonard and Dan Goossen to keep me moving forward in my career.”
The 27-year-old Sacramento native and former top-ranked American amateur at light heavyweight has slimmed down to 160 pounds after spending the early portion of his career at super middleweight.
Prior to pulling the trigger on a promotional deal, Gonzales made a few changes to his camp, namely replacing Las Vegas-based trainer Jeff Mayweather with Oakland’s Virgil Hunter and bringing aboard respected manager James Prince.
“I feel my style continues to evolve after working with great trainers like Ray Woods, Jeff Mayweather, and with Virgil Hunter, it’s a great fit.,” Gonzales said. “I expect a lot of things added to my weaponry and repertoire. At the end of the day, it’s about winning.
With Woods, the fans saw a boxer-puncher, as evidenced by his versatility in a dominant unanimous decision over Darnell Boone. Against Lester Gonzalez in his last outing eight months ago, Gonzales issued his foe a boxing lesson emblematic of the Jeff Mayweather style.
“Each fight is a progression, so last time we made our debut on network television on Telefutura against Lester Gonzalez,” Gonzales said. “I’d say Darnell Boone was a big win because he’s such a great gatekeeper for prospect who think they’re contenders, because if they’re not, he’ll send them back.”
Now perhaps, a new element—skillful inside fighting—will emerge out of Gonzales, especially since that is one of Hunter’s specialties.
“With Virgil Hunter, I’m just adding to what I have,” he said. “I already bring good speed, good power, [and] good boxing skills. We’re doing a lot of repetition in training. I’m confident he’ll be the right trainer to take me to that world championship level.”
So far, the new partnerships have worked out, and now “Flawless” now finds himself as the televised co-feature on the Oct. 28 edition of ShoBox against an undetermined opponent in Atlantic City.
“We were going to be the opener for the Super Six final, but now it’s on the main stage after unfortunately Andre [Ward] got that cut,” he said, referring to the injury that forced Ward’s Oct. 29 postponement of his fight with Carl Froch. “It’s my first fight on the East Coast, and it’s a great chance to showcase my talents on national TV.
“There’s no such thing as soft touches on ShoBox. Even with the long layoff, I don’t feel any added pressure to perform due to all the sacrifices my family and I made getting to this point.”
Ward’s fight has since been rescheduled for Dec. 17 at the same venue, and the man who promotes both “S.O.G.” and Gonzales chimed in on the latest addition to his Southern California-based stable.
“Brandon fits right in with our direction—young, hungry, talented fighters,” said Goossen, who takes over for Let’s Get It On and Star Boxing. “With Virgil [Hunter] training him and Andre [Ward] giving him work inside the ring, the ingredients are there for Brandon to raise his level of experience and ability."
Ryan Maquiñana is the boxing correspondent at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. He’s a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and Ring Magazine’s Ratings Advisory Panel. E-mail him at [email protected], check out his blog at www.maqdown.com or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.