Jump to content

Jhonny Gonzalez-Bombardero


Recommended Posts

One of those fighters that people usually argue about just how good they were, Jhonny Gonzalez was certainly one of the best fighters in the divisions below 130 in this century. He has won world titles at bantamweight and featherweight and also a minor title at super featherweight. At 5'7, he was very tall for a bantam especially, he was famed for his right hand but could hit hard with both hands and had a good jab. Although he ended his career with 11 losses, most of them are to world class fighters and some of them came due to him not being in best shape or mindset. He has defeated fighters like Fernando Montiel, Abner Mares, Hozumi Hasegawa, Mark "Too Sharp" Johnson, Elio Rojas, Rathanachai Sor Vorapin, Irene Pacheco and Jorge Arce. He is still the only guy to knock out Abner Mares and in only one round too. He has had a marvelous career but also experienced some devastating losses-in other words, his career was cinematic.


Gonzalez was born 15 September 1981 in Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico. His unusual name spelling is a result of a typo on his birth registration form, it was supposed to be Johnny but came out as "Jhonny". He obviously liked it, for he kept that unusual spelling (which is actually common in certain Latin American countries). Early on, he was trained by the former lightweight world champion Miguel Angel Gonzalez and he made his pro debut in August 1999, before turning 18. He however lost his first two fights, both on points. He then won his 14 next fights, winning the NABF bantam title in the last of them, by TKO10 against Ablorh Sowah. In his next fight, he again lost on points, against Ricardo Vargas, who again beat him in the next fight, this time by a technical decision. Jhonny continued winning and in May 2004 he beat Alejandro Montiel, brother of Fernando, by an impressive TKO6 to capture the vacant WBO NABO title. Montiel was far more experienced and had over 50 fights already when they fought, making it an even more impressive feat. He defended the title by stopping the 17-0 Gabriel Elizondo by a TKO2 and also winning the WBC Continental Americas title, in November same year. Next year, he first beat William Gonzalez by a KO3, after being dropped once in the third round. He was then given a chance to win the WBO title against the Thai champion, Rathanachai Sor Vorapin, who was a veteran of 73 fights. The fight was in Desert Diamond Casino, Tucson, Arizona, on 29 October and Jhonny was again impressive as he first put the champion down twice in the second round and twice in the sixth before stopping him early in the seventh. He thus became the champion for the first time at 24. He was then supposed to defend his title against legendary former three-division champ Mark "Too Sharp" Johnson, but Johnson couldn't make the weight, so the title was not on the line. Jhonny dominated the washed up legend for 7 rounds before knocking him out in the 8th. He then finally made his first title defense against Fernando Montiel, who was looking to avenge his brother's loss. The fight happened on 27 May 2006, at Home Depot in Carson, Arizona and it was a very good and even fight and in the end, as it went the distance, the judges were divided. One scored it for the challenger by 115-113, the second had the champion ahead by as much as 118-111 and the third was also with the champion by 116-112. I myself scored it 115-113 for Jhonny, who did seem to do more damage, as he inflicted two injuries on Montiel, the shorter man. Jhonny was simply good at using his physical advantages.


Feeling emboldened by this victory, Jhonny then challenged the WBC super bantam champion Israel "Magnifico" Vazquez, who was known as a very hard puncher and a tough guy. They faced off at MGM Grand, just a day after Jhonny's 25th birthday, 2006. Jhonny started off very well and dominated the first 6 rounds with his superior reach, jab and boxing ability, and he put the shorter Vazquez down in rounds 4 and 6. Vazquez however mounted a comeback in round 7 and put his younger foe down. Going into round 10, Jhonny was ahead on all scorecards, but he seemed tired and had sustained some serious punishment in the last three rounds. He had a swelling under his left eye and his nose was bloody, but still kept throwing punches. Vazquez then landed a hard left hook and followed it up with a couple more punches that sent Gonzalez to his knees. As he got up and beat the count, his corner stopped the fight, to the disbelief of Larry Merchant. Although he WAS ahead, he had problems breathing through his nose and was not in a good shape, although he technically wasn't done yet and was able to continue. Thus, despite losing by a TKO, he wasn't really stopped and his performance was praised. On 30 March next year, he made his second defense of his title by stopping the faded former world flyweight champ Irene Pacheco by a TKO9. Pacheco announced his retirement afterwards. And then came Gerry Penalosa. Penalosa had been a WBC champion at super flyweight and was chasing another world title for many years, having been robbed outright in his previous fight with Daniel Ponce de Leon. It was on today's date that they fought, at the Arco Arena in Sacramento. Jhonny was mostly dominant in the first 6 rounds and was ahead on two of the scorecards while the third was even. In the 7th, Penalosa suddenly exploded and hit him with the perfect liver punch as Gonzalez was extended from throwing his own punch. He suffered a bad delayed reaction and fell down on his knees, unable to continue. It was the first time he had been counted out.


After this devastating loss to the much older (but very clever) Penalosa, Gonzalez went up to super bantamweight. After winning 6 fights there, he was matched against Toshiaki Nishioka for the WBC title which Nishioka was holding. They fought in Monterrey, Mexico on 23 May 2009 and Jhonny floored Nishioka in the first round and was ahead after 2 rounds, when in the 3rd, he got hit with Nishioka's specialty-his "flying" left hook, which caught him right on the chin and sent him down and into the ropes. Although he eventually beat the count, he was in no position to continue and thus it was over-a TKO3 loss. Once again, his over-aggressiveness resulted in a ko loss. He then went up in weight again, where he would make his final mark-feather division. Although he won a WBC-eliminator fight against Antonio Davis already in 2010, he would have to wait for a year to actually fight for the title. In the meantime, he won the IBO belt by stopping Jackson Asiku by TKO6 on his 29th birthday. He then went to Kobe in Japan to fight the WBC champion Hozumi Hasegawa, 8 April 2011. First 2 rounds were even and not so eventful, in the 3rd both guys landed some good punches and then early in the 4th, Gonzalez put Hasegawa down with a hard right to the chin. Despite getting up in time, he was waved off by the referee and thus-Jhonny was a two-time, two-division champion! He made his first defense in July and stopped the overmatched Tomas Villa with a body shot in 4 rounds, by TKO. He then fought the tough Rogers Mtagwa and impressively stopped him by a TKO2 in his second defense, on his 30th birthday. It seems Jhonny liked fighting on his birthday, heh. After also stopping Roinet Caballero in 2 rounds to end the year, next year in April he beat Elio Rojas, the previous WBC champion, by UD after dropping him in the 10th round. He would then experience another loss on his 31st birthday, as he took on the former WBO super bantam champion Daniel Ponce De Leon. The fight was at the MGM Grand and Jhonny didn't look to be in good shape, as he was dominated and dropped in round 6, before the fight ended after 8 rounds, due to a bad cut over Jhonny's right eye, caused by an accidental butt. De Leon was of course well ahead on all scorecards and could celebrate, while for Jhonny it was back to the drawing board.


He started 2013 by winning the insignificant WBC United States Silver title by UD over Eusebio Osejo. After stopping the Japanese Akihiko Katagiri by TKO4, he was matched against the new WBC-champion Abner Mares, who was 26-0-1 coming in. Mares had taken the title by stopping De Leon by a TKO9 and was the favorite to win. The fight was at StubHub Center in Carson, California, on 24 August, and the almost 32-yearold Jhonny shocked everyone by taking the younger champion out in the first round, dropping him twice with power shots and ending the fight 5 seconds before the end of the round. It was a stunning victory and a great comeback for Gonzalez, who thus became a 3-time champion. This time, he managed to make 2 successful defenses, both in 2014. He first beat the 12-0-1 Clive Atwell by a technical decision, before taking on the legend and multiple-division champion Jorge Arce and putting him down three times before winning by a TKO11. His final downfall came against the smaller but also faster Gary Russell jr, who also could hit. It was 28 March 2015 at Palms Casino Resort in Vegas when Jhonny found himself helpless against the speed and the relentless assault of the younger man and his laser fast jab. Russell landed many sharp straight lefts and hard right hooks and put Gonzalez down once in round 3 and twice in round 4 before referee Tony Weeks waved it off, 37 seconds into round 4. It was effectively the end of Jhonny Gonzalez as a world class fighter. Although he would continue to fight until 2019 and win a couple small titles, he would never again fight for a world title and he also lost to Jonathan Oquendo by MD and Tomas Rojas, also by MD, in 2015 and 2018 respectively. His final fight (for the time being anyway) happened on 17 August '19 and he won by UD12 against Ramiro Blanco. His record stands at 68 victories, 55 by ko, and 11 losses, 4 by ko.


Jhonny Gonzalez was certainly a great offensive fighter, with his long reach and good height for the lower divisions, and his impressive punching power. But, it was his aggressive style that led to him getting stopped more than once and later on in his career his performances seemed to flunctuate. As a boxer, he was a complete package and also was popular and had good looks and charm. He certainly is one of my favorite fighters of the last 20 years. His recent pictures and footage show him still being active in the gym, but as a boxer he surely is finished now. He was almost 38 when he had his last fight and he is bound to turn 40 next month. I wish him all the best and hope he doesn't contemplate returning to the ring, unless it is for an exhibition or an easy fight. Thank you.



  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...