By Jake Donovan
Slowly but surely, the April 11 show in San Juan, Puerto Rico is shaping up as a Puerto Rico vs. Mexico-themed event from top to bottom.
The main event pits veteran Orlando Salido in defense of his junior lightweight title as he faces former two-time titlist Roman Martinez. The evening’s chief support features Jose “Chelo” Gonzalez in his continued climb back towards lightweight contention.
Originally, Gonzalez was slated to face fellow former lightweight title challenger Sharif Bogere. With that fight falling through, the local lightweight will now face Mexico’s Marvin Quintero. The modified matchup now marks
"Bogere didn't want to travel to fight in Puerto Rico,” claims promoter Peter Rivera, whose Puerto Rico Best Boxing Promotions (PRBBP) hosts the upcoming event. “[W]e were talking and got an agreement with the representatives for Marvin Quintero, who we can now announce as Chelo’s new opponent.
“We got a good Mexican fighter in Quintero to face Gonzalez, so now we have three great battles between Puerto Rico and Mexico for April 11.”
The third bout on the independent Pay-Per-View telecast still carries a cloud of uncertainty. Flyweight contender McWilliams Arroyo was announced to be facing Mexico’s Ramon Garcia. That bout remains in limbo, however; Garcia’s handlers, Promociones del Pueblo insist their fighter will instead face Philippines’ Jonathan Taconing at home in Mexico on April 4, as the chief support to Carlos Cuadras’ junior bantamweight title defense versus Luis Concepcion.
Gonzalez (23-1, 18KOs) returned from a 19-month hiatus with a win over Antonio Joao Bento last December.
The bout was his first since offering the performance of his career for nine rounds before quitting on his stool in his May '13 challenge of then-lightweight titlist Ricky Burns in Glasgow, Scotland. The combination of exhaustion from an extremely high workrate and a wrist injury suffered to the point of no longer being able to throw a punch with maximum impact prompted Gonzalez to not come out for the start of the 10th round of the tile fight.
Despite the adversity with which he was met, Gonzalez' critics weren't as kind in the post-fight assessment. The loss was a bitter pill to swallow and subject to wide criticism, though one the Puerto Rican slugger hopes to leave in the rearview mirror.
Quintero (26-5, 22KOs) will fight for the first time in Puerto Rico, with the duration of his career having taken place in Mexico and in continental United States.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox