That first without-a-doubt loss suffered by a boxer can be a humbling experience.
While there have been some who were never the same after having their aura of invincibility shattered, there have been others who picked themselves off the canvas and still reached the top of the mountain. Miguel Acosta. James Douglas. Jack Dempsey.
They all bounced back from setbacks (in the case of Acosta and Douglas, multiple losses early in their careers) to become world champions.
Jonathan Gonzalez hopes to follow in their footsteps. The 23-year-old from Caguas, Puerto Rico, begins his comeback tonight at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center as the former World Boxing Organization youth flyweight champion headlines the five-bout card that also includes quasi-Buffalonian Milos Pantelic, who lives in Toronto and is managed by Canadian Allan Tremblay but is sponsored by Try-It Distributing of Lancaster.
Gonzalez (13-1, 11 KOs) faces Mike Ruiz (9-4-1, 3 KOs) of Fresno, Calif., in the eight-round main event. Ruiz is trained by former world champion Israel Vazquez. Unbeaten cruiserweight Pantelic (8-0-1, 7 KOs) faces Michael Bissett (5-5-0, 4 KOs) in the co-feature bout, a six-rounder that’s a rematch of a bout the two had in February won via TKO by Pantelic, although Bissett did score a knockdown in that fight.
“We heard a lot of people liked the fight and they wanted to see the rematch, so we said why not,” said Pantelic of why he accepted the rematch.
Doors open at 6 p.m. and the card begins at 7. Tickets, which start at $30, can be purchased at the Convention Center.
The card, which is being promoted by Pretty Girls Promotions of Rochester, also will accept unused tickets from last February’s card in Niagara Falls, where the main event featuring Niagara Falls’ Nick Casal and the co-feature with Vincent Arroyo got scrapped a day before the fight due to their respective opponents failing their pre-fight physicals. At the time of that card, Pretty Girl Promotions didn’t offer any refunds.
“It was certainly an unfortunate situation, and unforeseen circumstances ... but again we want boxing fans to continue supporting boxing in this region, and we’re extending that to our fans,” promotions owner Mercedes Vazquez-Simmons said of the special offer.
Gonzalez won a world championship during his highly successful amateur career. He turned professional in 2011 and won his first 13 fights, capturing the youth title in his ninth fight.
It’s in his 14th bout where things changed.
He wasn’t taken to school by former world champion Giovanni Segura last August. In fact, Gonzalez showed flashes of brilliance against the Mexican. Gonzalez did learn a valuable lesson during the fight, though. No matter what, keep your hands up.
Gonzalez failed to do so in the second round during a clench. Segura slipped free of a tie up before the referee could intervene and floored his younger foe with a right. Gonzalez got up, survived the round and started to take control in the third. That changed in the fourth as Segura caught Gonzalez with his guard down again for another knockdown. That one clearly dazed and flustered Gonzalez as he got into a punching exchange with the 32-year-old instead of trying to slow things down in an effort to clear the cobwebs. Seconds later, Segura ended the fight with a left-right combo.
What did Gonzalez, who is now a free agent after being represented by Top Ranked since his debut, learn from that fight?
“I learned that I can’t lower my hands,” Gonzalez said. “When you get in the ring, you have to use your defense first then your offense. If you use your defense, then your offense will come along.
“I’m going to do my job. ... If I see I can finish” the fight early, “I will finish the fight. If I see he can take a punch, ... I can do eight rounds, 100 punches per round,” if necessary.
Other scheduled fights include Rochester lightweight Brandon Williams (3-0-1) vs. Philip Nazzarrio (0-2) of New York City, Rochester super featherweight Lavisas Williams (3-0-1, 2 KOs) vs. DeWayne Wisdom (4-16, 1 KO) of Indiana and a women’s bout featuring Massina’s Michelle Cook (1-0-1) against Alisah McPhee (2-0) of Langley, British Columbia.