Boxing

Jose Gonzalez vs. Jason LeHoullier: Another Spirit Tested

By Ted Sares: Jose Gonzalez (alias “El Cuervo”), out of Kansas via Guadalajara took the fight on short notice against LeHoullier (alias “The Hammer”) out of Portland, Maine by way of New Hampshire. The fight was televised on ESPN on March 7, 2008 and was for the vacant NABA light middleweight title at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut.

Gonzalez, 11-2, peppered The Hammer, 21-0, with sharp uppercuts and nice combinations throughout the fight as LeHoullier continued to fall (walk) into El Cuervo’s punches with a style made to order for the tough Kansas stylist who dominated the ten rounder. El Cuervo threw over 1,000 punches and landed over 30%. Alternating with excellent and subtle body work, he sliced and diced The Hammer’s face rendering both eyes swollen and his left eye and nose bleeding.

Aside from the second round, I gave every round to Gonzalez scoring the fight 99-91. Jose had the combination and Jason could not break it. Commentator Teddy Atlas had it the same way, but he and I also shared a suspicion that “home cooking” might be on the way--keeping in mind that Jason LeHoullier was the house fighter and undefeated coming in. When the bell rang, Gonzalez instantly raised his hands in victory and went from corner to corner in jubilation as his seconds hugged him. Meanwhile, LeHoullier waited dejectedly for the inevitable “bad news.” However, when the decision was read, suspicions became reality. Judge George Smith had it for the unmarked Gonzalez 97-93, but Judges Clark Sammartino had it even 95-95 and Don Trella ruled that the badly bloodied LeHoullier won it 94-96.

While the fight was ruled a draw, the expressions on the faces of the boxers told the real story as Gonzalez looked shocked, disbelieving and spiritually deflated, while LeHoullier appeared surprised as well he should. Even LeHoullier’s fans booed (along with everyone else in the house).

This one comes on top of the dreadful Jose Armando Santa Cruz-Joel Casamayor decision last year. It also comes after the more recent Mijares-Navarro fight in which one judge ruled that Juan Navarro had taken every round from Christian (120-108) in their bout (which Mijares won convincingly). This simply is another reason always to expect the unexpected when it comes to boxing decisions, but this is wearing thin.

When a fighter enters the ring and gives his all for 10 grueling rounds only to be denied what seemingly should have been a victory, he loses a part of his fighting spirit. Whether that loss is irrevocable or not depends largely on the grit and resiliency of the fighter. In the case of former contender Dave Tiberi, he simply walked away from boxing in disgust and found a better life. Santa Cruz has not fought since the Casamayor debacle.

Gonzalez will be back; let’s hope his spirit will be fully intact. But tonight, he deserved more.


Ted Sares is the author of the recently published Boxing is my Sanctuary.

Article posted on 08.03.2008



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