Last week, ESPN’s Salvador Rodriguez reported that Joet Gonzalez was in line to potentially face IBF featherweight champ Luis Alberto Lopez on September 15th in Corpus Christi. Now, Mike Coppinger confirms that the two “have struck a deal” to meet in an ESPN main event.
Gonzalez (26-3, 15 KO) kinda feels like he’s being chucked at the wall as many times as possible to see if he sticks. His last six fights have seen him lose a title shot to Shakur Stevenson, beat up Miguel Marriaga, lose a title shot to Emanuel Navarrete, beat up Jeo Santisima, lose a title eliminator to Isaac Dogboe, and beat up Enrique Vivas. Bizarrely, that was enough to make no. 1 with the WBO.
What makes this even weirder is that Lopez (28-2, 16 KO) has a mandatory challenger in Reiya Abe, who outclassed Kiko Martinez in an April eliminator. Since Michael Conlan was a voluntary defense, “Venado” presumably has to face a mandatory by December 10th to squeeze into the IBF’s standard one-year window.
The silver lining is that Gonzalez is good for a scrap; aside from the Stevenson fight, where he really had nothing for the champ, he consistently entertains. It’s just hard to see his start-and-stop offense having much success against a super active and offbeat puncher like Lopez.