I recently had a chance to catch up with Super middleweight contender “Flawless” Brandon Gonzales. He was involved in a close and controversial fight, against IBO super middleweight champion Thomas Ooesthuizen back on June 29th. The fight saw Gonzales out hustle and out boxed the heavily favored champion for most of the fight, but when the scorecards where read, Gonzales found himself only coming away with a draw.
During my “On The Ropes” interview with Gonzales, he discussed his recent bout and his feelings now that he’s had a chance to review it. Brandon also talked about his future, working with Virgil Hunter, sparring with Andre Ward, and gave his thoughts on both the super middleweight division and the current boxing scene. Here is what Brandon Gonzales had to say.
Jenna J: Brandon, you have had over a week to reflect on your last fight with Thomas Ooesthuizen that was ruled a draw, what are your thoughts today?
Brandon Gonzales: I still feel the same way that I did after the fight, I thought I clearly won the first 7 rounds, I thought 3 rounds were kind of competitive and I felt the same way when I came home and watched it on TV. This is boxing, and nothing surprises me anymore, we got the decision and that’s what is was.
Jenna: You were listed as a 6 1/2 to 1 underdog, how do you feel knowing you kind of upset the odds?
Gonzales: I did not know that till after, I heard 4-1, 5-1, I did not know it was quite that high, but that is just a numbers game to me, records, odds, they are just numbers to me. The deciding factor was in the ring, and I knew we were prepared for this fight, I felt extremely confident coming in, and I thought we put on a very good performance.
Jenna: Before this fight, you had actually never gone 10 rounds, never had a fight set for more then 8. Did you have any doubts about going the distance, or did you just know you had put the work in and the rounds would not be a problem for you?
Gonzales: We were in the best shape I’ve ever been in, we utilized the resources that I have here in the Bay area, and I was extremely confident about going the 10 rounds. Not only 10 rounds, but a fast pace. I did it in the gym all the time with 3-4 fresh bodies, so going into the fight I was extremely confident I would be able to go the 10 round distance.
Jenna: Even thought this fight was ruled a draw, do you think the type of exposure you got helped your career?
Gonzales: Well anytime you get to perform on a platform like HBO it can do nothing but help you, the millions of viewers they had for that card. I just think my stock is going to go up, and hopefully HBO will put me back on the network in another big fight soon.
Jenna: Now Brandon, do you think you need to have another fight with Tommy Gun, or do you think being that this fight is considered to be controversial, that you should just move on to bigger and better things?
Gonzales: I would love to move forward, I did win the fight with the way I felt I did, boxing him. If a rematch is the biggest option out there for my career, then I’m definitively open for that, but also there is a lot of opportunity in the super middleweight division out there, so I know that my team is going to do what’s best for my career.
Jenna: Brandon for the fans hearing about you for the first time, can you tell them a little about how you got into the sport of boxing?
Gonzales: It’s actually something I put myself into. I moved around a lot, when I was young, so I was not available to get inside of a gym, when I moved to Sacramento about 10 years ago I got into a gym, the capital city boxing gym, a lot of champions have come out of there, it’s closed down now, but that’s where I started. I started my amateur career, I had a great successful amateur career, I was number 1 ranked at 178lbs, one of the candidates moving into the 2008 Olympics, and I turned pro in 2007 because I started to raise a family. I took my career in a different direction and it’s been a roller coaster. I have had my up’s and my downs, my starts and stops, and we finally got to a point where it was supposed to pay off on the HBO card, and I think we did a really good job.
Jenna: You have a very well known trainer Brandon, as you are currently working with Virgil Hunter who trains Andre Ward. What do you think he’s brought to the table in terms of developing your talent?
Gonzales: Virgil is a excellent trainer, he’s excellent teacher, educator of boxing science. I’ve known Virgil for years working with Andre. He first turned pro when I was still an amateur, so I’m very familiar with Virgil’s style of training and his psychology and it kind of fits in to the way I learned. So it’s a real good match for the way me and him hooked up going on about 2 years now, it’s our 4th fight working together and it’s been great. He’s taught me a lot and added a lot to my game, and refined a lot of the tools that I possess, and given me the scenario as to when to use them, and he’s added tremendously to my abilities.
Jenna: Well after your last fight, you certainly have opened up a lot of possibilities for yourself. Who do you see out there at Super Middleweight?
Gonzales: There are a lot of names, a lot of guys overseas, it’s a top heavy division. The top 10 are all options out there I think, so it just depends what my team comes back with and what direction they want to move into. I would again, like to stay on HBO, and a big fight I’m open to that, and whoever they would like to see my in there with.
Jenna: Alright, well a little bit later in the show I’m gonna have on trainer Robert McCraken, he works with Carl Froch. What are your thoughts on Carl Froch as a fighter?
Gonzales: I think Carl Froch is a good fighter, he’s come a long way since the Super Six tournament. I think everybody in that tournament benefited from the Super Six and I think he continues to build momentum with key wins over top guys in the division. He’s got a good career.
Jenna: Alright, now another guy in the division also works with Virgil Hunter, that would be Andre Ward. Being the fact that you guys share the same trainer, have you guys ever had an opportunity to spar each other and how do you do against him?
Gonzales: Yeah I’ve worked with Andre for years, we’re real familiar with each other. I’ve been a part of his development, he’s obviously been a part of mine, and you know the sparring is extremely competitive, sometimes a little too competitive to where people get hurt, like before the Carl Froch fight. Then we had another incident a couple weeks before my fight with cuts and things of that nature. It’s extremely competitive sparring with all the guys in our stable; Andrade, Angulo, all those guys in my weight class, it’s extremely competitive sparring that you really can’t find anywhere else in the world.
Jenna: Ok well, you know Andre Ward has one problem that seems to be coming up and you mentioned just a little bit that he’s had some injuries and it’s kind of held him back, held him from getting certain fights. Do you think Andre Ward and his true potential can be held back if he can’t stay healthy?
Gonzalez: Well you know, that goes for any athlete I think, injuries can always effect your progression, but these are guys that stay in the gym regardless if you’re only able to use one arm or one hand. We’re guys that stay in there regardless of the situation and you kinda just work on what you have available if you are injured, and that goes for a lot of athletes that are in that gym. As long as you keep applying your craft, even during the off season, if you’re gonna keep seeing progression, whether it’s a slow progression or at a regular pace, you can’t let anything deter you from the goals.
Jenna: Alright well speaking of goals, the goal of every fighter is to become a champion, and with your fight, even though it was ruled a draw against Ooesthuizen, he was the IBO champion even though the belt wasn’t on the line. Do you think you’re deserving of a title shot in your very next fight after that performance?
Gonzales: Absolutely, I think I’d be open to a title shot in the next outing, I have no problem with that. There’s a lot of tough guys in the division but at the same time I felt I was ready for this caliber of opponent before this last fight and I still feel the same way. I’m still ready to contend for a world title.
Jenna: Ok well I just have a couple more questions for you Brandon before I let you off the line. And there’s on fight everybody’s looking forward to right now, it’s Floyd Mayweather Jr. versus Canelo Alvarez, it’s gonna be in September. I’m just curious what your thoughts are on that fight.
Gonzales: I think it’s a great match up. You got a hungry young lion who wants the recognition and wants to be where Floyd is at, so that’s a good advantage for him going into the fight. But at the same time you can never count Floyd out, he’s a true craftsman dedicated to the sport for so many years and he’s been competing at that level for so many years, that experience that he has, there’s nothing you can compare to that. I expect a typical Floyd Mayweather fight, competitive for 3 or 4 rounds but his experience, his skill set and his mind will take over the fight in the long run. I definitely think Canelo will have his moments cuz he’s extremely ambitious and he’s a hungry young fighter. But I just think it’s a little too much too soon to ask of a young man like that.
Jenna: Ok, there’s another fight of interest out there that people are talking about and that’s the return of Manny Pacquiao. He’s coming off what is arguably one of the most devastating knock out people have seen in recent years. He’s taking on Brandon Rios. I’m curious, do you think Pacquiao is gonna be able to recover from his last defeat?
Gonzales: I mean, you don’t know until you know. I think it’s a dangerous fight for Pacquiao coming back off that knock out to Marquez and again, Rios is another extremely hungry fighter, he comes forward, he’s got a punch and he’s relentless. So if Pacquiao has taken anything away from that Marquez knock out, he can have his hands full with Brandon Rios.
Jenna: Ok well back to you Brandon, when do you see yourself returning to the ring?
Gonzales: I’d love to be back in the ring as soon as possible, possibly a fall date. It all depends on my team, I haven’t connected with them since the fight, we haven’t spoken about the immediate future yet but I’d love to be back in the ring as soon as possible. I’m back in the gym already just awaiting that phone call.
Jenna: Ok and after that last performance that you had, what do you think fans learned the most about Brandon Gonzales?
Gonzales: That I’m definitely a contender in the super middleweight division. The response and feed back on social media was tremendous from the fans to the media as well. They were outspoken to the promoter and the network and as well as myself, I greatly appreciate the fan support and I just think they know that I’m gonna be here in the 68 division for a while.
Jenna: Alright well Brandon it’s been an absolute pleasure having you debut on “On The Ropes” boxing radio, I wish you all the best of luck going forward, and I look forward to seeing your next fight.
Gonzales: Thank you so much, I appreciate it.
To listen to the latest edition of “ON THE ROPES” featuring exclusive interviews with Paulie Malignaggi, Robert McCracken and Brandon Gonzales, just click the black player directly below.
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