Jose Gonzalez may not have left with the WBO lightweight title yesterday if he'd lasted three more rounds against Ricky Burns, but if he'd stayed on his feet and gone the distance, even losing the 10th, 11th, and 12th rounds, he'd have left with a draw.
Gonzalez quit after nine rounds yesterday, leading 87-84 on all three scorecards. BLH had him up 88-83, and those 6-3, 7-2 type scores were the norm for pretty much everyone.
Gonzalez (22-1, 17 KO) retired on his stool after nine, officially due to a broken hand, but Burns' promoter Eddie Hearn thinks it was more than that, as do many others:
"The guy could switch hit. You could see it in the corner, two rounds before that, he was very tired. If you have three rounds to survive to win a world title, and you pull out because of a bad hand....I think there is more to it than that. I think Ricky just broke his heart in that seventh round, he hit Ricky with everything he had and [Ricky] came back. He was up, all he had to do was win one more round to be world champion. To pull out under those circumstances, something had to be really, really bad. And I don't think a broken hand [was enough]. I really think Ricky broke his heart."
Burns (36-2, 11 KO) was flustered through the first six rounds of the fight, at which point he took a gamble and turned it into a brawl. That paid off -- though Gonzalez hammered him in round seven, Gonzalez also saw that Burns wasn't going to just crumble.
Chelo said that he never felt Burns' shots, and felt he had dominated:
"I injured my left wrist. It happened when I landed a punch that connected to the body of Burns. I partially hit his elbow and hurt my hand. I tried to continue, but the pain was too great and I could not use my hand. I didn't know how the fight was being scored on the cards, but I felt that I was dominating him. I didn't feel any of Burns' punches."
There's no doubt that a busted wrist/hand plays a big part, and I think to fully go to the "broken heart" line dismisses that, in part, the hand would have affected the heart. Gonzalez had done a phenomenal job, then went for broke, didn't get the finish, and frankly may have panicked. Add in a busted hand, and you've got an untested guy who's never been here before, with who knows what racing through his mind as he tries to stop Burns' charge and survive the fight.
Simply put, Chelo Gonzalez may have found the ceiling of his boxing career last night in Glasgow.