With his rematch date against Abner Mares postponed for the time being, Jhonny Gonzalez is looking to return with a defense in March in Mexico, but he's turned down Gary Russell Jr as an opponent. Meanwhile, he's also targeting that rematch with Mares for mid-year, then wants to make another title defense before moving up to 130 and going for another world title.
"We told [Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez] we were not interested [in Russell]. We were not allowed to have Jhonny make a defense against a different challenger in December. We were forced to go directly against Mares [in a rematch]. We were pressed and accepted February 15 because we didn't want to get into legal issues. Then we're told that Mares can't fight, but there has no medical examination. We would have thought that a physician would tell us when he would be ready, but now we're told he may not be ready to fight until May or June," [promoter Oswaldo] Kuchle said.
"Eric Gomez called to warn that the fight would fall out [on February 15] and would possibly get moved over by one month. He said it was nothing serious, and now we are now discussing another opponent and looking at the rematch for the middle of the year. It almost seems to me [that Mares has] broken ribs."
Gonzalez (55-8, 47 KO) is a vulnerable (if exciting) titlist, so his ambition could be ill-fated, but he's always liked to keep a busy schedule and stay active. If he has a March fight, it will likely be a pure stay-busy defense, which will hopefully lead into the Mares rematch as would be the current plan. If he wins that, he'll be able to do just about whatever he wants.