Brandon Gonzales outboxed, outfoxed, and outworked Thomas Oosthuizen over 10 rounds last Saturday at the Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, Conn., but the judges felt otherwise and controversially ruled the super middleweight fight a draw.
Gonzales (17-0-1, 10 KOs) entered his HBO debut as the marked underdog. However, the Sacramento native raced out to an early lead and appeared to hold on for the upset against Oosthuizen (21-0-2, 13 KOs), a 168-pounder ranked as high as fifth in the world by Ring Magazine.
Judge Peter Hary’s 98-92 ledger for Gonzales was countered by Glenn Feldman’s 96-94 tally for Oosthuizen and a 95-95 card from Clark Sammartino. Both CSNBayArea.com and HBO unofficial ringside scorer Steve Weisfeld scored the bout 96-94 for Gonzales.
“Although I didn’t lose, I’m treating this like a loss,” said Gonzales, who appeared on Yahoo! SportsTalk Live before the clash. “I would love a rematch, especially to do it again on HBO, but at the same time, I clearly thought I won the fight.”
Despite facing a four-inch height disadvantage, Gonzales neutralized the 6-foot-4 South African southpaw, closing the distance between them with his superior handspeed and footwork. As Gonzales eluded Oosthuizen’s long right jab, he found a way to repeatedly sneak his solid right hand through the guard during the first half of the fight.
“Initially the gameplan was to fight inside, but the referee kept breaking us up when we did, so we adjusted and brought it outside,” Gonzales said. “I kept turning him, countering him, and I think overall, that confused him.”
Though Gonzales’s punch output decreased and Oosthuizen grew more accurate as the bout progressed, one would be hard-pressed to determine that the South African’s late rally netted him six rounds, much less the requisite five for a draw.
Gonzales’s trainer, Virgil Hunter, constantly whispered to him in between rounds to warn him that the judges would not give him the benefit of the doubt—a valid concern since Oosthuizen’s promoter put on the show. Ultimately, Hunter’s fears came to fruition once the scorecards were announced.
“I thought I clearly won eight rounds if [the fight] were on even territory,” Gonzales said. “I don’t think he started landing effective shots until round six or seven. His body punches were more him trying to keep me off of him rather than it was effective aggression.”
Gonzales, currently ranked sixth in CSNBayArea.com’s NorCal pound-for-pound poll, was coming off a subpar decision over Don Mouton in January that left many experts cynical he could ever live up to his potential. As an amateur, Gonzales was rated the top light heavyweight in the United States in 2007 and earned NorCal Prospect of the Year honors in 2011.
Despite not securing the victory, Gonzales undoubtedly fought well enough to silence his doubters and stir up demand for another high-profile fight on HBO.
“They have to take notice,” Gonzales said. “There are people who were skeptical, and now there will be people who will jump on the bandwagon. But however they want to label me, that’s up to the fans and reporters. My main thing is to get better with my craft in the gym.”
RAMIREZ RUNS UNBEATEN STREAK TO FOUR
2012 U.S. Olympian Jose Ramirez won his fourth straight bout to open his pro career, needing only 90 seconds to dispatch Chris Williams (1-2) with a series of body shots in an UniMás-televised affair last Saturday.
Ramirez (4-0, 3 KOs), from Avenal, was the last boxer from Region 11 (NorCal and Central Cal) to represent Team USA since Oakland’s Andre Ward and Woodland’s Vicente Escobedo in 2004.
REGION 11 CLAIMS 10 MEDALS AT NATIONAL JR. OLYMPICS
Region 11 boxers captured 10 medals and finished second in the team standings at the National Junior Olympics in Mobile, Ala., last Saturday, with Ruben “Dracula” Villa and Isidro Ochoa capturing golds for the second straight year.
Villa, fighting out of Salinas, outpointed Las Vegas native Devin Haney in the 119-pound final. Ochoa, the reigning 110-pound champion from Fresno, moved up to 125 pounds and downed Ohio’s Michael Nelson in his final. Sanger’s Derek Ochoa lost by decision to New Mexico’s Aaron Perez at 106 pounds to take silver, and Bakersfield’s Odalys Camacho bested Kristy Rodriguez of Illinois for the female 114-pound crown.
A sextet of locals fell in the semifinals and will receive bronze medals: South San Francisco’s Charlie Sheehy (132 pounds), Daly City’s Suray Mahmutovic (165 pounds), Sacramento’s Angel Rios (165 pounds), Napa’s Brandon Trejo (138 pounds), Sacramento’s Amisael Jimenez (154 pounds), and Antioch’s Katrina Nahe (female 119 pounds), who represented the USF Boxing Club.