The stakes for Saturday’s fight mattered little to Joet Gonzalez throughout the buildup to his showdown with Colombia’s Miguel Marriaga.
Now with the fight out of the way and armed with his biggest career win to date, the Los Angeles native is prepared to look to the future.
A battle of former featherweight title challengers saw Gonzalez prevail in lopsided fashion Saturday evening, live on ESPN+ from The Bubble in Las Vegas. Gonzalez scored a 10-round unanimous decision over Marriaga, with the win now putting him in line for a shot at whomever prevails in the upcoming vacant featherweight title fight between Emanuel Navarrete (32-1, 28KOs) and Ruben Villa (18-0, 5KOs). Their bout takes place on October 9 in this very venue.
“My plan all along was to go in there, give the fans (at home watching on ESPN+) a great fight and show everyone that I’m ready for the best featherweights in the world.”
It was mission accomplished for Gonzalez (24-1, 14KOs), who entered in search of redemption following a lopsided 12-round loss to Shakur Stevenson in their own vacant title fight last October in Reno, Nevada. The lone defeat of his career left Gonzalez without a win since last July, heading into Saturday’s chief supporting bout.
The return to the win column was right on time, with his strong showing proving he is once again worthy of fighting on the title stage.
“This puts me back in the position I want to be. I wanted to be back in with tough guys,” insists Gonzalez. “I told my manager, Frank Espinoza, and my team at Golden Boy that I didn’t want no tune-up fights. I wanted to show people that I could compete with the top guys and be in with heavy hitters and boxers and compete for another title real soon.
“I think if Navarrete gets a belt, I’d give him a great fight. I’d love to fight (WBA featherweight titlist) Xu Can as well. He’s like a punching machine. A fight with him will be exciting for the fans.“
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox