BOUT SET AS UNDERCARD FEATURE ON BARRERA VS JUAREZ II
LOS ANGELES, CA (August 24, 2006). . . WBC world super bantamweight champion Israel Vazquez (40-3, 29 KOs) and his challenger, WBO bantamweight king Jhonny Gonzalez (33-4, 28 KOs) participated in an international conference call Wednesday and started the crossfire for their world championship bout as part of the undercard of the championship rematch between Marco Antonio Barrera and Rocky Juarez on Saturday, September 16 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada and broadcast live on HBO Pay-Per-View.
For Vazquez and Gonzalez, nothing could be more important than a win by a Mexican on Mexican Independence Day. Vazquez, who became the 100th Mexican champion with his first world title on March 25, 2004, is the Ring Magazine champion and also hailed by his countrymen as the heir apparent to the popularity throne of Marco Antonio Barrera. “This fight with Jhonny Gonzalez is absolutely going to be a tough fight for me. I love the challenge because I know that in order to be the best, you have to fight the best,” remarked Vazquez. For Gonzalez, the bantamweight champion who is moving up in weight to face Vazquez, a victory on September 16, will make him the king of the ring and his popularity index meter will soar to new heights. “September 16 is the most important fight of my career so far,” said Gonzalez. “It is going to be a very tough fight. Israel’s a great champion. My thanks to Israel for allowing me the opportunity to fight for the title”
The 28-year-old Vazquez, originally from Mexico City, won his first title, the International Boxing Federation junior featherweight championship, during March of 2004. The Sycuan Ringside Promotions fighter has set himself apart from all other 122-pounders with his impressive performance Dec. 3, 2005, when he hit the proverbial boxing jackpot on a nationally televised stage in Las Vegas against highly touted Oscar Larios.
Again, Vazquez suffered doubters aplenty, despite having an earlier win over Larios. Las Vegas oddsmakers pegged Vazquez as a 3-to-1 underdog. The boxing media wrote him off as just another “minor” world champion. And the boxing public was snoozing, too. But Vazquez paid no attention to the naysayers and proceeded to knock out the more experienced Larios and add the WBC super bantamweight belt to his championship wardrobe.
Vazquez successfully defended his WBC super bantamweight title June 10, 2006, in Atlantic City, N.J., stopping Ivan Hernandez after four rounds on the undercard of the Bernard Hopkins-Antonio Tarver HBO pay-per-view show. The stinging upset over Larios and the quick manner in which he dispatched Hernandez, served notice to one and all that this warrior is “The Man” among 122-pounders.
For Johnny Gonzalez, a win over Vasquez would further propel him atop the boxing pound-for-pound list. An exciting fighter with devastating power in his fists, Mexico’s Jhonny Gonzalez has a well-earned reputation as one of boxing’s most compelling young warriors. And at just 24-years-old, boxing insiders believe that the best is yet to come for the bantamweight bomber.
A stellar amateur, Gonzalez compiled a record of 164-14, and was a three-time national champion in Mexico. He also earned a bronze medal at the 1998 Pan American Games and was a member of the Mexican Olympic team before a dispute with the Mexican Olympic Committee caused him to leave the team. In 2000, Gonzalez was named Mexico’s Prospect of the Year for 2000.
On October 26, 2001, Gonzalez earned his first title