CARSON, Calif. - In a leading candidate for Upset of the Year - and possible Knockout of the Year - former two-division world champion and knockout artist Jhonny Gonzalez (55-8, 47 KO's) registered a stunning 2:55, first-round knockout over previously unbeaten Abner Mares (26-1-1, 14 KO's) Saturday on SHOWTIME® before 7,686 loud and enthusiastic fans at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
Gonzalez's shocking upset victory in the WBC featherweight title fight sets up a possible showdown with Leo Santa Cruz (25-0-1, 15 KO's), who scored two knockdowns en route to an impressive third-round knockout over defending WBC super bantamweight champion Victor Terrazas (37-3-1, 21 KO's) in the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING co-feature.
"This moment right now is the single greatest and most glorious moment of my life," said an elated Gonzalez, who reclaimed the 126-pound belt he once held and breathed new life into his career with the win over his former training partner. "When I came to the United States for this fight no one gave me any credit. All they talked about was Mares fighting Santa Cruz. I didn't say anything but I knew I was getting disrespected."
Both Gonzalez, from Mexico City, Mexico, and the former WBC featherweight champion, Mares of Downey, Calif., by way of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, each came out aggressively. Halfway through the opening round, Gonzalez connected with a solid left hook Mares never saw coming, dropping him to the canvas and leading to an eight-count. After Mares made it to his feet, Gonzalez landed another of punches that ended with a left hook and a right cross that knocked Mares backwards. Referee Jack Reiss stepped in and stopped the fight with five seconds to go in the first round.
"I knew I had him badly hurt after the first knockdown," Gonzalez said.
"I'm good," said Mares, who held titles at 118 and 122 pounds before claiming the featherweight belt last May. He was making his eighth consecutive appearance on SHOWTIME. "You have to win and you have to learn how to lose in this sport. I'm not in the sport to remain undefeated, but I'm here to fight the best.
"I was alright with the ref's decision. He did his job and I respect it. But I thought I could go on," he added. "Now I'm going to take a break and enjoy my family."