Monday, March 20, 2023  |


Joet Gonzalez stops Manuel Avila in six rounds on Vargas-Kameda undercard

Joet Gonzalez has developed into a formidable featherweight. Photo by Tom Hogan / Golden Boy Promotions

CARSON, California — Featherweight standout Joet Gonzalez impressed onlookers with sixth-round stoppage of former contender Manuel Avila on the undercard of the Rey Vargas-Tomoki Kameda main event on Saturday.

Gonzalez (23-0, 14 KOs), of Glendora, California, scored two knockdowns in Round 5 and proceeded to administer a frightful beating in Round 6 to the Northern Californian before Avila’s corner and referee Jose Cobian finally decided enough was enough.

Prior to Rounds 5 and 6, what amounted to an in-house crossroads bout between Golden Boy-developed prospects — Gonzalez has risen to top-10 rankings by the sanctioning organizations (No. 2 in the WBO), while Avila’s career had stagnated due to inactivity and hand problems despite only suffering one loss — provided fans with an interesting mesh of boxing styles.

Gonzalez swarms Avila against the ropes. Photo by Tom Hogan / Golden Boy Promotions

Gonzalez applied smart and steady pressure behind a stiff jab, lead right hands and hooks to the body. Avila (23-2-1, 8 KOs) employed a smooth stick-and-move strategy with a fluid jab and counterpunches on the fly. However, Gonzalez’s body attack began to pay dividends by Round 4, and once Avila slowed down the aggressor was able to back him to the ropes and unload power combinations.

“I saw by the second or third round that he was already gassed,” Gonzalez said. “I knew he was ready to go by the middle rounds, so I tried to take him out like I said I would. I work hard every day in the gym, all I do is eat and sleep boxing, so when I say I’m going to do something, I mean it.”

Now, Gonzalez has set his sights on the titleholders. His managerial stablemate Oscar Valdez holds the WBO belt, but Valdez might vacant soon and campaign at 130 pounds. That would set up a showdown between the WBO’s No. 1-rated Shakur Stevenson for the vacant belt. And that would suit Gonzalez fine.

“I want any champion at 126 pounds, and anyone who is talking s__t, they can get it too,” Gonzalez told Beto Duran during their lively post-fight interview on DAZN. “Shakur Stevenson and Joseph Diaz Jr. have said some s__t (on social media), some little girl s__t, but I’m a grown-ass man and they can get some any time.”

Gonzalez, who is usually very quiet, had a parting message to the fans in attendance at Dignity Sports Health Park and watching on DAZN.

“I don’t care if I lose. I’m not like these cherry pickers, I want to fight the best and put on a good show.”