By Jake Donovan
Streaking featherweight titlist Jhonny Gonzalez racked up his 11th straight knockout on Saturday evening with a second round stoppage of Roinet Caballero in his hometown of Mexico City.
The win caps a brilliant year for Gonzalez, now 51-7 (45KO) after scoring four knockouts in 2011, in fights totaling less than 11 rounds of actual ring time.
A former bantamweight titlist who twice came up short in title fights at 122 lb, Gonzalez has found new life in the featherweight division. Confirmation of his resurgence came last year on his 29th birthday, knocking out Jackson Asiku in the sixth round of their all-out thriller.
Two fights later, Gonzalez registered a career-best win, coming from behind to rally back and stop two-division champion Hozumi Hasegawa in the fourth round of their featherweight title fight in Japan.
He has since defended the belt three times, scoring a fourth-round knockout over fringe contender Tomas Villa in July. Added to the list are back-to-back second round knockouts over Rogers Mtagaw - which earned Gonzalez his 50th win and on his 30th birthday – and Caballero.
The loss snaps a four-fight win streak for Panama’s Caballero, who falls to 31-11-1 (22KO).
For Gonzalez, it’s a celebration of his first-ever title fight in his Mexico City hometown. The 30-year old has fought in his own backyard many times, but never with title fight implications. The status made Saturday’s affair a special occasion, one to which he delivered in emphatic fashion.
Gonzalez’ 11-fight knockout streak also matches the length of his current win streak following his last title fight loss, a third round stoppage at the hands of the excellent Toshiaki Nishioka of Japan.
Gonzalez and his handlers (Promociones del Pueblo) are eyeing unification bouts in 2012, as well as a hoped for showdown with Yuriorkis Gamboa. The unbeaten Cuban has talked about moving up in weight, though Gonzalez hopes to get to him beforehand. If not, there are plenty of others on his hit list, which doesn’t rule out a move up a division or two if it means securing a big fight.
“I would love to fight the bigger names in the division,” Gonzalez states. “Yuriorkis Gamboa, Juan Manuel Lopez, Elio Rojas, Javier Fortuna – I’ll even move up to lightweight to face (recently crowned titlist) Antonio DeMarco.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter @JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to JakeNDaBox@gmail.com .