Jhonny Gonzales vs. Gerry Penalosa, Gerry’s last shot at the big stage

03.11.06 - By Wayne Joseph Tulio: In boxing, fighters side stories sometimes make a fight more interesting, and this crossroads fight between two warriors for a bantamweight title, if it eventuates is certainly that. Gerry Penalosa, former WBC super flyweight champion is getting probably his last shot at the big stage against tough Mexican Jhonny Gonzales for the WBO bantamweight championship.. Provided this fight pushes through as the Penalosa camp claims, fight fans are certainly up for what can potentially be a great boxing match.

The 25-year-old Gonzales, a native of Mexico City is currently coming off a loss against WBC Super Bantamweight Champion Israel Vasquez. Gonzales moved up in weight to challenge the tough Mexican who is known as banger and also a constant sparring partner to Manny Pacquiao. Gonzales actually made good account of himself in his first appearance in the 122 pound division downing the tough Vasquez in rounds 4 and 6 of their fight before his corner stopped the contest in the 10th round.

Though Gonzales is coming from a tough loss, it was hard fought. He dealt an amount of punishment on Vasquez and it was anybody’s fight until he suffered the knockdown that eventually lead to the stoppage. Gonzales is part of a new breed of Mexican fighters that can brawl but can box technically at the same time. Prior to the loss in September, he out jabbed challenger Fernando Montiel in May on his way to a split decision to retain his bantamweight title. In February, he finished off former two division world champion Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson in 8 rounds.

Gerry Penalosa of San Carlos City, Philippines on the other hand is on the other hand is on a 5 fight winning streak his latest one, disposing former world bantamweight champion Mauricio Martinez. Against the naturally bigger Panamanian, Penalosa showed more polished boxing skills dropping Martinez in the 1st, 4th and eventually ending the fight in the 9th round. In July, Penalosa out boxed and counter punched Mexican Tomas Rojas en route to a unanimous decision.

For the 34 year old Penalosa a loss might mean an end to great career. Penalosa won the WBC Superflyweight championship in the mid 90’s and was able to defend it three times before losing to In Joo Cho in Korea. His next 3 major fights were title fights to regain the belt back. His split decision loss to Cho in the return bout was controversial and so was the close unanimous decision loss to North Korean Masamori Tokuyama. In the return bout with Tokuyama in 2002, he lost through a controversial split decision.

After a two year retirement, Penalosa came back to try and get one more crack at a world championship. Now under the tutelage of trainer Freddie Roach, Penalosa has become a more polished counter puncher using more ring movement and smarter punching.

If the fight happens, Gonzales enjoys a height and reach advantage being 2 ˝ inches taller that the 5’5 Penalosa. Gonzales also enjoys the age advantage being 9 years younger that the Gerry. But does Gonzales have enough confidence to win after suffering a hard fought loss against Vasquez? Will the beating he received in his last fight affect his performance against Penalosa?

Gonzales actually lost his first two matches before becoming the tough boxer that he is. Coming off losses has never been a problem for the Mexican and his reach is an advantage because his jab is one of the best in the lower weight divisions. He also has the power to knock out the Filipino. A win over Penalosa will certainly boost his stock.

Penalosa however, is certainly no walk in the park, 4 of his 5 lossess come from title fights and all of his losses were decisions. In his last three fights, Penalosa showed that although he started out as a flyweight, he has what it takes to fight with the bigger guys at bantamweight. His power also showed in his last fight and his chin is solid. But his last 4 losses were so close in terms of time span. Will the two year lay off and new training from Freddie Roach get Penalosa back on top? Will his height disadvantage be a major factor for this fight?

The young gun versus the older fighter wanting his last shot at glory, the classic boxing story with so many questions and the answers will only come on fight night.

Article posted on 03.11.2006

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