Jonathan Gonzalez (left) was just a bit too strong for a gritty Billy Lyell in a good fight on ShoBox. (Photo by Tom Casino/Showtime)
Puerto Rican junior middleweight prospect Jonathan Gonzalez struggled on the scales yesterday and didn't have it easy in the ring tonight, but he came away with a decision win over tough gatekeeper Billy Lyell in a back-and-forth, entertaining fight to open tonight's ShoBox broadcast. Gonzalez won on scores of 97-93, 97-93, and 98-92, with many viewers having it closer.
Gonzalez (15-0, 13 KO) still has a lot of flaws, and he's going to need to figure out if he's a junior middleweight or a middleweight, but he's a fun fighter and always enjoyable to watch, and it was the same tonight. Faced with the gritty, fearless Lyell (24-11, 5 KO), he found himself trading shots with a man who was clearly smaller but wouldn't back down.
In the end, the real difference was that Gonzalez had enough power to visibly shake up Lyell at times, while Lyell's best shots were pretty well eaten by the 22-year-old prospect, because Lyell is just not a puncher. As well as Lyell fought, Gonzalez was right there with him pretty much every step of the way, and probably did more eye-catching stuff offensively.
It'll be interesting to see how quickly Gonzalez's handlers move him. There'd be no shame in staying at this level for a few more fights and continuing to improve his skills. He can get a lot better defensively, even if he's never a great or even truly good defensive fighter, and there's no reason for him to get hit quite as much as he does.
Tonight's main event is coming up next, so join our live thread for Thomas Dulorme vs Aris Ambriz.