Boxing is graced with a solid end of the year run, many fight fans are saying, because a few coin-flip and intriguing step up test bouts are on the docket.
The Oct. 26 Shakur Stevenson vs Joet Gonzalez bout is one; it’s seen as the buzziest of Stevenson’s career, to this date, and has extra oomph as an attraction because the New Jersey product and his foe, the California-based Gonzalez, have beefed in the trash talk sphere.
I checked in with Gonzalez, age 26, who holds a 23-0 (14 KO) record since turning professional in 2012. The Golden Boy boxer weighed in, sharing how camp has been to this point.
”Camp has been tough, physically and mentally, and I feel it’s prepared me with everything I need to come out victorious on Oct. 26,” he told me.
”I feel like I pushed my body to its limits in all aspects. Going more rounds in training, sparring tough and bigger guys. Mentally, just the attention from the media and public. Obviously it’s a world title fight so I’ve been doing more interviews then usual.”
Indeed, the vacant WBO featherweight crown will be for the taking on a Top Rank card, which will unfold at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, in Reno, Nevada.
So, I did wonder — has the enmity, in Gonzlez’s mind, died down? Or is he still fired up, stemming from the back and forth they’ve engaged in?
”No, this fight is definitely personal,” the underdog stated. ”He does a lot of talking about myself and my family and has even posted some things. So yeah, this fight is personal.”
So fair to say that personal element is a catalyst for the GBP fighter? “Yes, most definitely. It’s a fight I need to win and a fight I will win.”
If you haven’t seen Joet, he is a composed fighter. Keeps the guard high, is light on his feet, has a snappy jab, but won’t want to step straight back against Stevenson. He will want to be on the higher end of the volume department so Shakur doesn’t dictate the pace and tone to his liking.
Stevenson admitted he just doesn’t like Joet, and Marcos Villegas asked him about specifics. He didn’t want to get into deets, and he did say he’s a good fighter. He said he didn’t know anything about dating Joet’s sister, for the record. “October 26th, I’m gonna show him what I’m all about,” he said.
Is there a danger Joet gets too hyped? How does he stay level headed with the increased scrutiny and hype on his plate?
“Just stay focused on the fight. I don’t let it get to me because as a professional I know that this attention will only get bigger in the future with bigger fights. And if I want to be the best then this is something I should be able to handle, which I am.
“I just want to thank my family, team, promoter, and manager for everything and helping me get to this moment. They’ve done their job and now it’s my turn to do mine and become WBO featherweight world champion.”
Gonzalez told me he thinks Stevenson is good, but maybe a tad overrated.
”Yeah, a little. He’s good but not great how everyone is trying to make him seem.”
Father Jose trains Joet; is he invested in the same way, feeling like this thing is personal?
”Yes, the whole family does. It’s just a topic we feel shouldn’t be touched as pro athletes. The fight is between him and myself, not between him, myself, and my family. Even after everything he’s said and done you don’t see me badmouthing his family, and the reason for that is because I don’t even know them and have no issue with them because they have never done anything to me personally. My issue and fight is with him and him only. He crossed the line several times but he will pay for everything come Oct. 26.”
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