By Jake Donovan
Former two-division world champion Giovani Segura resurrected his career with a fourth-round knockout of previously unbeaten Jonathan 'Bomba' Gonzalez on the road Saturday evening in Carolina, Puerto Rico.
Segura scored three knockdowns in the main event, which headlined an independent pay-per-view show.
The pairing had the potential to serve as a passing of the torch fight, though it would require Gonzalez either avoiding or absorbing Segura's best Sunday punch in order to carry out his game plan. That strategy held up for barely a round, as the Puerto Rican boxed his way to a successful opening frame.
In other words, Segura had him exactly where wanted.
Disaster soon struck for the 22-year old Puerto Rican, whose chin would get a workout in round two. Segura was relentless in his pursuit of the local prospect, flooring him twice in the round but unable to put him away.
Gonzalez showed major resolve, somehow surviving the round and appearing clearheaded heading into the third round. The shame of his performance was that he was in full control whenever the action was limited to boxing.
Segura will never be confused with a technical fighter, or even someone who has any regard for defense. When he's not throwing, his opponents generally enjoy success. Those moments allowed Gonzalez to believe he could somehow box his way back into the fight, with a strong third round helping even things up on the scorecards.
The same pattern that developed in the first six minutes played out in the following two rounds as well. Three minutes after being thoroughly outboxed, Segura decided it was time to dig in and turn a boxing match into a fight.
Gonzalez had no choice but to oblige. The moment he conceded real estate, the fight was over. Segura put the local prospect down for the third time in the fight, this time for good as Gonzalez never made it back to his feet.
The official time was 2:25 of round four.
A quick glance at Segura's recent stretch suggests the same exact pattern as how Saturday's fight played out - up one moment, down the next. While a mere 2-2 in his last four contests, the former two-division king showed he still has plenty left in the gas tank. The win puts his record at 30-3-1 (26KO), scoring his third significant win against a Puerto Rican star, including a pair of career-defining wins over Ivan Calderon in Aug. '10 and April '11.
Gonzalez loses for the first time in his young career. His record now falls to 13-1 (11KO). Perhaps more crucial to the health of the Puerto Rican boxing scene, he becomes the latest from the island to fall miserably short when stepping up in class.
With the win, the 31-year old Segura reemerges as a major player in the lower weight classes. A former champ at strawweight and junior flyweight, Saturday's victory puts him in contention in a loaded flyweight division. He has fallen short twice at the flyweight title level, dropping a competitive decision to Edgar Sosa in May, and suffering a one-sided stoppage versus Brian Viloria in Dec. '11.
The win on Saturday moves Segura towards an eventual title shot with Juan Francisco Estrada, who upset Viloria earlier this year in Macau.
Jonathan Oquendo picked up his first win in nearly two years when he stopped Mexico's Miguel Tamayo in the fourth round of their super bantamweight bout, which served as the evening's chief support.
Ring rust was a concern for Oquendo, who hadn't fought since a competitive knockout loss to Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. last October. Such worries proved for naught, as the 30-year old had his way with Tamayo (14-7-2, 12KO). A pair of third round knockdowns paved the way for a dramatic finish in the fourth, giving Oquendo his first win since Oct. '11 as he advances to 23-3 (15KO).
It was harder work finding an opponent for Felix Diaz than it was for the 2008 Olympic Gold medalist to take care of his night's work. The squat Dominican southpaw wasted no time in tearing through Edgar Llanes (12-5, 7KO), power punching his way to a first-round knockout.
The win was the quickest exit for Diaz since his second pro fight, having developed into a boxer-puncher in the pro ranks. Ring activity has been his only issue to this point of his career, but this marked his second fight within two months as he improves to 14-0 (8KO).
Emmanuel De Jesus remained unbeaten after breezing through his preliminary bout with Orlando Falcon. The 20-year old super welterweight prospect wasted no time in making his presence felt, overwhelming Falcon (2-4-2, 1KO) before stopping him in round two. De Jesus improves to 7-0 (5KO) as he approaches one full year in the pro ranks.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox