Joet Gonzalez isn’t impressed with Shakur Stevenson, believes he’d stop him
Joet Gonzalez will glove up with another Golden Boy fighter on Saturday night, when he meets Manuel Avila, in Cali, and the unbeaten hitter promised he’d stay that way.
In a phone chat, Gonzalez said that no one should assume that his power is average. He’s been on a KO streak, and feels he’s hitting a lot harder now that he’s no longer seeking the stoppages. “I’m a lot stronger than when I started,” he said.
The 22-0 (13 knockouts) boxer has said that he wants to snag a world title before the end of the year, and he says a win Saturday will elevate him in the rankings. “After this fight, I want a world title shot in September,” said the seven year pro. “Come Saturday night, I have to make a big statement, win in dramatic fashion.”
I asked Golden Boy executive Roberto Diaz his take on Gonzalez and this bout. “Joet is a hardworking dedicated and very disciplined you man. He knows what he wants and he wants it bad. This Saturday he has his biggest test of his career in Manuel Avila who is a talented young man himself. Very good fight.”
So, Gonzalez may be a 60-40 favorite coming in against Avila (23-1-1, 8 KOs)…and you tab this as a must watch?
“Yes, winner is close to world title,” said Diaz.
Gonzalez also offered his take on the current champs at 126, noting Gary Russell’s hand speed, Leo Santa Cruz’ seasoning, Josh Warrington is no slouch, hungry and aggressive, and Oscar Valdez likely has the heaviest hands of all of them. Manager Frank Espinoza, he said, is on board with searching for a title crack. Gonzalez and Valdez or Gonzalez versus Santa Cruz would be great style matches, he posited. “When the time comes, I’ll fight either one of them.”
In the main event, WBC super bantam champ Rey Vargas will put his title up for grabs against Tomoki Kameda, and you can watch the tangos on DAZN from Dignity Health Sports Park. “It’s a fifty-fifty fight,” Gonzalez, 25, shared with us.
Back to the start…at age 8, a chunky Gonzalez went to a gym to look to trim down and also get some ammo for dealing with bullies. He waited a couple years, because his little bro was too young to start, at age 6. Then, he watched Oscar De La Hoya versus Fernando Vargas, and that lit a fire underneath his butt. Little bro Jousce (8-0-1) is a world class boxer, as well. Oh, and their dad Jose trains them.
We also chatted about another 126 who will be busy this weekend; WBO No. 1 Shakur Stevenson, age 22, with an 11-0 mark, fights in NJ and on ESPN Saturday night. Gonzalez has thoughts on him…
“To be honest with you, I think I’ll stop him,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve been in the ring with him, I know what he likes, I know what he dislikes, I just think my personal opinion I think he’s all hype. I’ve seen him in the amateurs, I don’t see anything too special, I’ve been in the ring with him. Honestly, when the time comes, I’m going to show the world, maybe I sound a little arrogant or big headed, but I just don’t think nothing of him.”
Gonzalez said he expects to stay at 126 for a decent length of time and he expects yes, he will be meeting Shakur. He battled Gervonta Davis and beat him in the amateurs and expects to surprise people in the same way moving forward as a pro, he continued.
As for his Saturday tango: “It won’t go the distance, I’m going to say eight or less,” he finished up, with a pointed prediction.
—Michael Woods is a Massachusetts-born journalist who lives in Brooklyn, NY. He hosts a podcast sponsored by Everlast, called “Talkbox.“