By Jake Donovan
Normally the news of a fight being postponed would leave a fighter gutted. Jhonny Gonzalez hardly missed a beat, however, when he learned his rematch with Abner Mares will no longer happen on February 15.
The fight, which was slated to take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, is now being targeted for March after Mares suffered a rib injury during training camp Monday afternoon in Mexico.
“We received a call from (Golden Boy matchmaker) Eric Gomez, who explained to me that Mares has an injured rib and won’t be ready for February 15,” confirmed Oswaldo Kuchle of Promociones del Pueblo, Gonzalez’ promoter in Mexico. “They are negotiating with SHOWTIME to get a new TV date, hopefully in March which postpones the rematch only one month.”
Gonzalez (55-8, 47KO) was written off following his technical decision loss to Daniel Ponce de Leon in Sept. ’12 – specifically on his 31st birthday, which falls during the celebration of Grito de Dolores (Mexico’s Independence Day). However, the former two-division titlist rose back to the top in a big way this past summer after his shocking 1st round knockout of Mares, regarded as one of the very best pound-for-pound fighters in the world at the time.
The bout will be well recognized on these pages during awards season once announcements are made for Boxingscene.com’s Upset and Knockout of the Year. Gonzalez was looking forward to build on that career-resurrecting win, but is fine with waiting it out another month or so if that’s what it takes.
“I’m 100% ready for this rematch,” insists Gonzalez, a two-time featherweight titlist who also once reigned as bantamweight champ. “I know that anything can happen in boxing, especially while training. We understand Abner’s situation and will continue to train while waiting for the new date to do it again.”
The timing of Mares’ injury is met with a touch of irony. Two days prior, Gonzalez was falsely quoted as claiming to have injured his hand during training camp. His camp has confirmed the 32-year old to be in perfect health as he awaits confirmation of the rescheduled rematch.
“December 28th is ‘Dia de los Inocentes’ in Mexico,” Kuchle explained of the Hispanic holiday, which in modern times has become the equivalent of April Fools’ Day. “A Mexican reporter made news about Jhonny’s hand being injured, which wasn’t at all true, and not the least bit funny, by the way.”
One rumored rescheduled date is March 15, though it remains largely unconfirmed as well as problematic as it relates to the hosting venue. The Staples Center has home games scheduled for local franchises throughout the month of March – the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers are home on March 1st and 8th, while the 15th, 22nd and 29th are reserved for the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox