By Ryan Maquiñana
Unbeaten middleweight prospect Brandon Gonzales (15-10, 10 KOs) of Sacramento, Calif., faces Haitian Elie Augustama (6-4, 3 KOs) in the co-feature for this weekend’s episode of ESPN2 Friday Night Fights at the Sodoba Casino in San Jacinto, Calif.
BoxingScene.com caught up with Gonzales, his promoter Dan Goossen, and Andre Ward to get their takes on the clash:
GONZALES ON MATCHING UP WITH AUGUSTAMA:
“I saw a couple rounds of his fight with DonYil [Livingston]. He’s a tall, rangy boxer, and he’s awkward. He’ll wing punches, and he’s all over the place, but he comes to fight, and he’s not going to lay down.”
GONZALES ON LIVING IN TRAINER VIRGIL HUNTER’S GUESTHOUSE IN HAYWARD, CALIF., FOR CAMP:
“It’s fully furnished and got everything a fighter would need. You still miss your family. I missed so much this time. I missed my daughter’s first violin recital. I missed my son’s graduation ceremony, and he’s going to junior high next year. I can’t get those things back. I’m going to make sure the sacrifices have been worth it on Friday.”
GONZALES ON HAVING TO PULL OUT OF A JANUARY SHOBOX DATE DUE TO AN INJURED GROIN:
“Coming off that injury, it felt like I was coming off a loss. It was disappointing. There is a sense of urgency for this fight, but you don’t want it to corrupt your gameplan. It’s just a great chance to get that exposure I need to move in the right direction for the rest of the year.”
GOOSSEN ON THE IMPORTANCE OF THE FIGHT FOR GONZALES:
“Every time you’re on TV, it’s like you have your career staring right at you. Brandon has the chance to go out there and show the boxing world he deserves to go up to those next levels. Now he’s got this great team behind him, with Virgil being that last component. They’ve had more time to work together, and I expect Brandon to be better than last time.”
WARD ON SPARRING WITH GONZALES:
“I definitely feel like he's improving. We benefit each other. We've been sparring for a long time, and we know each other very well. The work has always been good work, but its more the work he’s doing with Virgil.
WARD ON HOW HE’S SEEN GONZALES IMPROVE:
“It's teaching and coaching in the technical aspects of the game. It’s understanding how to rest and train properly. Those are all things he and Virgil have been working on and Virgil is trying to implement in general.”
Ryan Maquiñana writes a weekly boxing column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Ratings Panel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at [email protected], check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.