Gonzalez defeats Montiel in a snoozer, Williams Victorious

28.05.06 – By Ryan “The Asian Sensation” Songalia – Team Pinoy – In HBO’s second installment of “Boxing After Dark” this year, Jhonny Gonzalez outpointed Fernando Montiel to retain his WBO bantamweight title.. In the co-featured bout between two unbeaten prospects, Paul “The Punisher” Williams stopped Walter Matthysse in the tenth round. This fight card was featured at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.

Fighting for the opportunity to face bantamweight kingpin Rafael Marquez, Jhonny Gonzalez defeated Fernando Montiel by split decision. It was a tactical fight that was devoid of sustained action, yet both fighters displayed a great deal of technical skill and professionalism. However, in boxing the big punch sells and neither man helped his marketability to great benefit. Jhonny Gonzalez, Mexico City, Mexico, retains his WBO Bantamweight title and raises his record to 33-4 (28 KO), while Montiel, Los Mochis, Mexico, falls to 32-2-1 (24 KO).

The first round began with both fighters feeling each other out. Montiel landed the more effective punches in this tactical round and was overall busier. In the second round, the crowd began to boo the lack of excitement of this bout, a pattern that would play itself out periodically during the duration of the fight. Midway through the second round, Montiel landed a very flashy left hook, but didn’t capitalize on it by following up with a combination. Both fighters tried to steal the close round in the moments of the stanza, but Gonzalez’s left hooks were by far the more effective punches. By the third round, Gonzalez asserted himself as the aggressor and had a very good round, backing Montiel up and landing hard left hooks to the body and head.

In the fourth round, Gonzalez continued to press the action and landed the more effective blows. Gonzalez was taking the initiative and getting off his punches first while Montiel struggled to counter with Gonzalez’s reach advantage. Towards the end of this round, both men started to let their hands go freely for the first time in the bout, highlighted by a hard right hand landed by Gonzalez. Fifth round action was reminiscent of the previous rounds, with Gonzalez stalking and Montiel boxing. Montiel’s lateral movement was beginning to befuddle Gonzalez, but Montiel wasn’t throwing enough punches to give the judges a reason to score the round for him. The sixth round saw Montiel attempting to be more aggressive than he had been in previous rounds. Montiel stepped in and threw punches more frequently, but Gonzalez landed well at the end of the round with left hooks to the body and head.

In the seventh and eighth rounds, the boos from the crowd started to come in a sustained fashion for the first time in the fight. The HBO commentator’s were trying to hype the action up with verbage, but there was no mistaking the dullness of the combat. However, in the middle of the tactical foot war, Montiel landed his best punch of the fight with an overhand right that landed on Gonzalez just before the end of the eighth round. Gonzalez once again resumed his role as aggressor in the ninth, pressing forward and landing a couple of body shots here and there. Montiel did fight back well in spots, taking advantage of counter punching opportunities when Gonzalez walked straight in. As had become a pattern in the bout, both fighters attempted to steal close rounds by flurrying in the last 20 seconds. During this session, Gonzalez got the better of the exchanges, punctuated by a left hook that knocked Montiel’s mouthpiece out.

The tactical boxing match continued into the tenth round, with Montiel countering infrequently and Gonzalez unable to land devastating blows on his elusive foe. Midway through the round, Montiel slipped as a consequence of the perspiration that had accumulated on the paint in the middle of the ring. That was one of the more memorable moments of the fight. In the eleventh round, Montiel realised that he would need to become more aggressive and started to come forward. While he did pick up his work rate, he was unable to get any effective scoring done. Montiel came out for the twelfth rouund flurrying and moving, and seemed to win the first 2:30 of the stanza. With 15 seconds left in the fight, Montiel raised his hands in celebration prematurely, allowing Gonzalez to step in and land some effective punches and possibly steal the round.

The official judges scorecards at the end of the fight read as a split decision win for Gonzalez, with 2 cards reading 118-111 and 116-112. Those tallies over-ruled the 115-113 card that had Montiel victorious. Montiel will now probably have to return to the super flyweight division to rebuild after this loss.

As for Gonzalez, he now stands as the most viable challenger to bantamweight champion Rafael Marquez. This fight would be a very exciting fight with two fighters who are offensive minded. I would pick Marquez in this one however, as Marquez’s big punch and speed advantage are hard to argue against.

In the twelve round co-featured welterweight bout, Paul Williams of Augusta, Georgia, defeated Walter Matthysse, Argentina, at 1:56 of the tenth round TKO. In a very entertaining, yet sloppy bout, Williams’ superior conditioning and technique was too much for the rough brawler Matthysse. Williams, who is one of the most celebrated prospects in the fight, raises his undefeated record to 30-0 (22 KO), while the tough Matthysse loses for the first time, dropping to 25-1 (24 KO).

In the first round, Williams started quickly, landing very effective punches from his southpaw stance. Matthysse was retreating early, trying to figure out Williams’ tricky style. Later in the first, Matthysse warmed up and became more aggressive, but it was still Williams’ round. In the second round, Matthysse started to impose himself more by getting inside of the 6’2 Williams’ punches and landing more of his shots. The third round featured William’s continuing to take advantage of his height, landing effectively from a distance.

In the fourth round, Matthysse began to close the distance and land effective overhand rights and left hooks. Towards the end of the round, Matthysse started to exhibit signs of fatigue while Williams kept landing from a distance. The fifth round began with Williams landing head and body combinations. Matthysse, who began slowing down in the previous round, stayed in a defensive shell, showing that he was not prepared for the active pace that Williams fights at. In the sixth round, Williams dominated the action, fighting at an accellerated rate while Matthysse tried to get a breather from the intense workrate that Williams was bringing.

Williams started the seventh round throwing quick combinations and tying Matthysse up, but the Argentinian fighter kept coming forward. Matthysse’s technique began to deteriorate as a result of his fatigue. By the end of the eighth, Matthysse looked totally gassed as he slowly began to succumb to Williams’ astronomical workrate. In the ninth round, Matthysse landed 3 flush hard left hooks in a row, but those blows would represent his final offensive flurries of the fight. In the tenth round, Williams continued to press the action, landing hard body shots and left crosses to the head. Showing signs of great fatigue, Matthysse backed himself into the corner and seemed to conceed to his opponent. Finally, with two minutes left in the round, the referee stopped the contest and declared Paul “The Punisher” Williams the winner.

Williams displayed impressive stamina and punch output in his first fight on an HBO telecast. However, he did show a few flaws that he needs to work on before being ready to make a serious statement in the welterweight division. Williams is a big man, whose 6’1 welterweight frame draws shallow comparisons to Thomas Hearns. Williams would be better suited defensively if he kept the fight at a distance instead of fighting on the inside where its harder for him to unleash his longer punches. He also needs to become more authoritative with his jab so he can keep his opponent’s on the outside where he is significantly more effective.

In his post fight interview, Williams displayed interest in fighting welterweight survivor Antonio Margarito. Given their history as sparring partners, the temerity he exhibited in calling out Margarito displays a great deal of self belief. That said, Williams would probably be better served to avoid him for the time being and face gradually better opposition while refining some of the technical flaws in his style.

Before I finish, I would like to show my pound for pound list for the month of June.

1. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
2. Winky Wright
3. Manny Pacquiao
4. Marco Antonio Barrera
5. Rafael Marquez
6. Jermain Taylor
7. Ricky Hatton
8. Diego Corrales
9. Jose Luis Castillo
10. Joe Calzaghe

Ryan Songalia is a syndicated columnist. If you wish to contact him, his e-mail address is mc_rson@yahoo.com . He is a proud member of Team Pinoy.