Boxing before his hometown fans, former 154 pound prospect Jesus Gonzales (27-1, 14 KOs) fought at super middleweight tonight at the U.S. Airways Centre in Phoenix, AZ, and emerged victorious with a hard fought unanimous decision over light heavyweight Francisco Sierra (24-4-1, 22 KOs).
After twelve rounds, the official scorecards read 117-109, 116-110 and 115-111 all in favor of Gonzales.
A late replacement for the bout, Francisco Sierra had to lose 12 pounds over the last week and still weighed in seven pounds over the 168 pound contracted weight. Although he was certainly the bigger and stronger man, he never fought like it and the rapid weight loss may have been the problem.
What Jesus Gonzales did not have in size and strength, he more than made up for it with faster hands and much better technical boxing skills relative to his often wild swinging opponent.
The first round was close and could have gone to either man on the scorecards. While Gonzales landed a couple of nice, straight left hands to the face, Sierra landed a good left and right hook to close the frame.
Although stunned early in the second by a hard right hook from Francisco Sierra, Jesus Gonzales recovered nicely and outboxed him for most of the way with right jabs and straight lefts to the face.
The third round was a close one, with Gonzales landing numerous clean left hands to the face, but Sierra countered with a hard right hand to the body and a couple right hooks upstairs of his own. Of particular note, a bad nose bleed was opened on Gonzales early in the round.
The hometown man dropped his opponent with a straight left to the liver at the 1:00 mark to take the round in the fourth, but Sierra gained his composure and gave Gonzales something to think about via a hard left hook to the head at the 2:40 mark.
Francisco Sierra came back strong in the fifth and returned the favor by dropping Jesus Gonzales with a monstrous right hook to the face at about the 2:45 mark. In between rounds, it appeared Gonzales may have had a hard time recovering, but he came out and regained control in the sixth with a good body attack.
Jesus Gonzales picked up the pace during the second half of the match and with the exception of the tenth round, really controlled the rest of the fight with a higher work rate and clean, effective punching. Both men had to overcome bad cuts over their left eye during the middle and later rounds, but the injuries proved not to be a major factor as far as the end result was concerned.
In the opening bout on the ESPN2 televised card, promising, undefeated lightweight Yaundale Evans (15-0, 11 KOs) faced his toughest test to date on paper in former title challenger Emmanuel Lucero (26-6-1, 14 KOs). Evans would have no problem with his more experienced opponent, dropping him four times on route to a dominant sixth round TKO stoppage.
Undefeated middleweight Janks Trotter (5-0-1, 5 KOs) made quick work of Arturo Crespin (6-2-1, 2 KOs) on the other televised undercard bout, dropping Crespin with a right hook in the first round and ending matters in the second with a crushing, straight right hand to the chin. Crespin fell face first and did not move while the referee began the count before waiving off the action.