Q&A with WBC Featherweight Champion Jhonny Gonzalez

John Garita of Round By Round Boxing caught up with the Mexican champion to discuss his training regimen, a rematch with Abner Mares, turning down a potential matchup with Gary Russell Jr. and more.

JhonnyG - Harry How Getty Images Photo by Harry How/Getty Images Photo edit by John Garita/Round By Round Boxing

At this point last year, not many people considered Jhonny Gonzalez one of the best Featherweight fighters in the world.

He was undoubtedly battled tested, having faced top-notch competition such as Fernando Montiel, Israel Vasquez, Toshiaki Nishioka, Hozumi Hasegawa and Daniel Ponce De Leon.

But many boxing fans and pundits considered Gonzalez an old 31, and someone who was moving closer towards being a gatekeeper than a world champion again.

But on August 8, 2013, all of those perceptions changed.

That was the night that Gonzalez shocked the world with a one-round destruction of the now former WBC Featherweight Champion, Abner Mares.

Gonzalez—now the deserving owner of the Green Belt—is once again considered one of the best Featherweight’s in the world.

A rematch with Mares was recently scrapped due to an injury suffered by Abner, but that hasn’t derailed Gonzalez’s plans of defending his title in the near future.

John Garita of Round By Round Boxing caught up with the Mexican champion to discuss his training regimen, a rematch with Abner Mares, turning down a potential matchup with Gary Russell Jr. and more.

Round By Round Boxing: Hi Jhonny, how’s your training coming along?

Jhonny Gonzalez: It’s going well. We’ve started intense work right now in the gym. We’ve also started sparring to make sure we show up ready for the next fight. Right now we are sparring approximately eight to 10 rounds.

RBRBoxing: Sounds good. So, describe your typical routine when training.

JG: I train in the morning at 10:00 am at the Romanza Gym. After training, I go home to eat and rest. At 4:00 pm I start my running sessions and conditioning sessions. I come home and rest up and start again the next day.

RBRBoxing: What are you improving on from your previous fight with Abner Mares?

JG: The Mares fight finished quick and I was not able to see my errors, however I still analyzed the fight and when the Mares rematch does materialize we will look at it again from a different point of view.

Every fight, whether it’s a loss or victory, I always analyze it and study the fights to see the errors that I committed so when I return to the gym I am able to correct them in the next fight.

Abner Mares vs Jhonny Gonzalez Photo by Esther Lin/Showtime

RBRBoxing: Mares sustained an injury and Golden Boy provided proof of it. How do you feel about that?

JG: Honestly, I really think Mares did a good job demonstrating to the doubters that did not believe in his injury. I wish him a speedy recovery and the day he fights, he will be at 100 percent.

RBRBoxing: Mares said he will return on May 3 on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather and a yet to be named opponent. What are your thoughts?

JG: That is excellent for him. Golden Boy Promotions wants the rematch and we can definitely set it up in the near future.

RBRBoxing: There are reports circulating that you will fight in March can you confirm that?

JG: Correct, I will fight on March 29, 2014 and we are analyzing opponents at the moment. The date is confirmed and the location will be in Mexico City, D.F.

RBRBoxing: Nacho Beristain is an excellent coach. What have you learned from him?

JG: Nacho is a great trainer who has extensive knowledge about boxing. He helped me rebuild after the defeat against Toshiaki Nishioka, which took place in Mexico. Working together has given positive results; two championship titles and it makes us happy and keeps us motivated.

RBRBoxing: Juan Manuel Marquez is a figure you look up to. How has he influenced your career?

JG: Juan Manuel Marquez is a great, strong boxer who has written his own legacy in the boxing world. We admire him for his immense accomplishments and he is one of the best Mexican fighters of today. The entire Romanza gym team works hard and hopes to one day accomplish what he has accomplished.

RBRBoxing: People want to know why you didn’t take the Gary Russell Jr. fight?

JG: First, the mandatory fight we have is with Abner Mares, not Gary Russell Jr. We signed two options with Golden Boy Promotions and we will fulfill them. I have been waiting for a while now for the rematch against Mares. We did not accept a fight with Gary Russell Jr. because he’s not in our immediate plans and I believe a fight with Russell Jr. is one where we have a lot to lose and very little to gain. He is a high risk and low reward guy and I was going to get a small purse to fight him.

RBRBoxing: If successful against Mares in the rematch, who would you like to fight?

JG: There’s a ton of great fighters in the Featherweight division. For example Orlando Salido and Evgeny Gradovich.

Nonito Donaire, and Guillermo Rigondeaux will eventually go up in weight as well. There are great options in the 126-pound division and if the fights do not materialize then we will move up to the 130-pound division and fight the champions like Takashi Miura or Mikey Garcia. Those would be great fights.

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RBRBoxing: What goals do you still want to accomplish in boxing? Do you see retirement in the near future?

JG: First, I want to fight on March 29 and demonstrate that I am a real champion. I did not win the Mares fight by luck. The opponent they put in front of me, I want to defeat him convincingly so the doubters can see I am a great champion and then wait for the anticipated fight against Mares.

RBRBoxing: If you were not boxing, what would you do?

JG: I honestly don’t have any idea what I would be doing if I was not boxing. However, I do like to train the next generation of fighters, motivate them and help them.

RBRBoxing: Any last words for your fans?

JG: Follow my career and very soon I will have updates on my next title defense and where will it be. We will continue to demonstrate and win in the ring.

RBRBoxing: How can your fans worldwide follow you?


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