Orlando Gonzalez worked hard for the sociology degree he earned in college, though it was his most recent bout which proved to be his most educational experience to date.
The unbeaten Top Rank-promoted featherweight prospect from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico returns to the ring this Friday, just two months removed from a hard-fought eight-round win over Colombia’s Luis Porozo. Their bout took place this past June, live on ESPN from The Bubble in Las Vegas where Gonzalez twice floored an otherwise disinterested Porozo en route to the unanimous decision victory.
“It was good to fight a solid fighter like Porozo, but also a valuable experience to know how to fight an opponent who only comes to survive,” Gonzalez (15-0, 10KOs) told BoxingScene.com. “It made things complicated for me, because I began to put too much pressure on myself. Guys who fight to survive won’t make mistakes; they will wait for your mistakes before fighting back.
“I put too much pressure on myself to try to knock him out. When I knocked him down in round two, I wanted to knock him out in round three. When I didn’t, it affected me in rounds four, five and six. I woke myself up in the seventh round and just went out to win the fight. That’s the one thing I learned that I planned to show on Friday, not to pressure myself to fight any way that is not my style.”
Gonzalez once again has the chance to shine in front of a televised audience, while once again coming without the benefit of fans in attendance. The 25-year old southpaw—who boasts a 162-16 amateur record along with a B.A. in sociology from the University of Puerto Rico—will face Guadalajara’s Diuhl Olguin (14-13-4, 9KOs) behind closed doors at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Florida (Friday, Telemundo, 12:00am ET).
It will mark Gonzalez’s second straight fight in a bubble and third overall fight in 2020. His year opened up in this very venue, scoring a 4th round knockout of Charlie Serrano on the undercard of a Telemundo telecast this past February.
Friday’s bout—on paper—has the potential to resemble what Gonzalez was up against just nine weeks ago. At least, it would to someone who doesn’t learn the lessons he’s taught, whether on a college campus or in a boxing ring.
“On paper, they look at this guy’s record and say he’s not dangerous,” notes Gonzalez, who knows better. “But I see the way he fights; he can take a good punch and knows how to go rounds. He has also won a couple of upsets, and comes in this fight with nothing to lose.
“It’s my job to make sure he has to [adapt] to me. That’s what I learned the most from my last fight and I am grateful to have that experience to help me grow in the ring. When I take another fight with that kind of fighter—if it’s (Olguin) or my next opponent—now I know how to make them work in the ring and not just try to survive.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox