Graduation day for ‘Chimpa’ at Belasco Theater
For the seventh time in his last nine fights, Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez will perform at the Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles as the headliner of Golden Boy Promotions’ “L.A. Fight Club,” against Romero Duno. And if all goes well, it will be the last time he fights there.
With a victory, Gonzalez will graduate to bigger and better things. 2017 could be a big year for the raw-boned puncher from Buena Park, California.
“I think it is,” said Gonzalez this past Monday morning at Sarabia’s Gym in the city of Pico Rivera. “I’ll be fighting 10 rounds (after this bout); this will be my last eight-rounders. So it’s going to be one step higher for everything, the competition.”
Gonzalez is a bona fide puncher but, two years ago, when he made his debut with Golden Boy at the Belasco Theater against Julio Sarinara, he looked much more suspect. That night, he got floored, cut and had to rally late to score a sixth round stoppage. From that point, he’s shown rapid technical development and he now stands at 16-0 (14).
“We look back, when I did my debut with Golden Boy, and we’ve seen improvements here and there. I still got a lot to learn but, yes, we’ve seen a lot improvements from my first fight with Golden Boy to now,” said the good-natured Gonzalez, who’s been managed by Ricky Mota (best known for handling former WBO junior flyweight titleholder Giovani Segura during his championship days). Mota believes his charge is ready for a big ’17. “I think it’s a very important year in his development. He’s got a very important fight and he’s fighting for the WBC Youth Intercontinental title. He’s fighting a Filipino kid who’s very strong, with a big punch.”
Duno comes in with a mark of 12-1 (11) and his lone loss came to the undefeated Mikhail Alexeel last May in the latter’s home country of Russia. This is a legitimate test on graduation day.
“I think these are the important fights to see what Chimpa’s made of but I think he’s special and he will prevail,” stated Mota.
You hear the word “improvement” a lot from this team. The reason is they believe he has shown this technically. Punchers are born but boxing acumen can be improved. Oscar Gonzalez Sr., the father and trainer of Chimpa says (through Mota) what they have worked on most is “basically just polishing up his boxing skills, doing things he didn’t do before. For example, the jab, it’s basic but very important moving the head, the waist movement and stuff like that I’ve seen him put together now.”
According to him, his son his where he should be at this stage and age (21).
“He is where I expect him to be; he’s very young still. He’s not ready for a world title yet but here’s where I want him to be,” said the elder Gonzalez, who says of their upcoming fight: “I’ve watched some fights of (Duno). He’s young, very strong, good punch. It’s a great test, great opponent but we’ve got a great game plan and I feel Chimpa’s ready for these kind of fights.”
If he passes this test, well, Gonzalez will go onto bigger platforms (like those with four letters).
Robert Diaz, head matchmaker for GBP, explained to UCNLive.com, “I absolutely think that’s the plan. That’s the idea. This will be our last chance to see him on EstrellaTV and then he graduates to the next level on ESPN, co-main event and eventually a main event on ESPN.”
Like anyone else who saw him struggle mightily two years ago, Diaz had his concerns about Gonzalez’s future.
“To be honest, the first time I saw him, I remember, he got dropped; he got cut and I was thinking to myself, ‘Oh, my God, I’m going to have my hands full with this one. It’s going to be tough.’ But I’ve never seen a fighter grow and progress as fast and, in every fight, you see more improvement. The fight two years ago, he was wide. Obviously, the punch was always there because he came back and won that fight by stoppage and, today, now you see him in December; the jab was the key. The jab was a real punch; he was hurting the opponents, just (with) the variety of punches.”
On Dec. 17 at the Forum, Gonzalez halted the experienced Jonathan Perez in three. Diaz continued, “You can tell that they’ve been watching the videos after the fights, seeing whatever mistakes are there and improving on them because, every fight, you seen an improvement.”
It’s clear Chimpa could be going places – and fast but with the realization that time is on their side, with him being just 21.
“We’re trying to be patient, trying not to rush him but, I mean, he’s developing,” said Mota, smiling at the thought of the future. “I just think some kids develop better than others, so, at 21, we want to be patient but, yeah, I think he’s ready for 10-round fights.”
Thus far, Gonzalez has no complaints about where he is and where he could be going. When asked if his pro career is what he expected, in his typical manner, he answered, “I think a little more than what I expected. I didn’t think that, at such an early stage of my career, I would accomplish things that I have. This is going to be my second time being the main event. So it’s very very exciting for me.”
WORLD BOXING SUPER SERIES
On Thursday afternoon, the formation of “The World Boxing Super Series,” a tournament-style format, in which $50 million in purses will be on the line, was announced. The two lead promoters are RingStar Sports’ Richard Schaefer and Kalle Sauerland.
Some key details have to ironed out (such as weight classes and television networks) but it’s certainly interesting.
It’s very simple: While good in theory (and Petr Petrov and Willie Monroe Jr, in recent years, have benefited from winning ESPN’s “Boxcino” event), the reality is most tournaments are only as good as the boxers in them. Will any marquee fighters want to – or, let’s be honest, be allowed to – partake in such a venture?
Also, given the politics involved (and it’s boxing, so there’s always this), will promotional entities like Golden Boy Promotions (especially them), Top Rank Promotions, K2 Promotions and Main Events ever throw their hats in with their clients? Seeing is believing.
Regardless, it will be interesting to see the execution of this venture.
Beto Duran and I will be on the call for RingTV.com for the card at Belasco Theater tonight…It’s a busy night of boxing with cards on UniMas, Telemundo and Showtime, in addition to the “L.A. Fight Club.” In Philly there is a card at the 2300 Arena…I like David Lemieux over Curtis Stevens, Saturday night on HBO’s “Boxing After Dark”…Not a good day for Brock Osweiler, huh?…Great to have shorts and sandals weather back here in Southern California…I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.