BoxingFight Previews

Joet Gonzalez Seeks Redemption, Marriaga Wants To Be A Champion

It was almost a year ago, when Joet Gonzalez faced Shakur Stevenson in Reno, Nevada. That was for the WBO featherweight title, a title that is now vacant as Stevenson has moved up to 130 lbs, and in Gonzalez’s return is fighting for what seems to be #1 spot for the WBO featherweight title he just fought for, as Gonzalez is now fighting for the WBO intercontinental featherweight title, while Emanuel Navarrete will face Ruben Villa IV for the vacant WBO featherweight world title, on October 9th.

That being said, Miguel Marriaga, might be the most disrespected man in all of boxing. Marriaga has beaten the former Top Rank fighter Guy Robb as well as Ruben Cervera, who know is in camp with Ruben Villa, and is a heck of a puncher. The knock-on Marriaga is he has lost the big fights in his career, but that is a two-way street. 

When Marriaga fought Lomachenko, and was eventually stopped, Marriaga inflicted a solid sum of damage on Lomachenko who left the ring marked up, Marriaga may have started the downward trend of Oscar Valdez’s career with their PPV clash, as Marriaga was the first true war of Valdez’s career, prior to the Scott Quigg bout and his debut against Nicholas Walters as the main event on HBO appeared to be too much, too soon.

Marriaga is a gatekeeper, but the feared kind. The one who shuts the gate on people, and with a good run, has all the makings of a world champion.

“I have had the opportunity to fight for a world title three times, and I have not been able to be crowned as champion, but we hope that this time around I can finally conquer a world title. I’m hungry! I really want it. On Saturday night, Joet Gonzalez will face a very strong Miguel Marriaga. I have a great hunger for triumph. The motivation has always been there. I will not rest until I am champion. We will give everything on Saturday to get a big win for Colombian boxing.” said Marriaga via a virtual press conference.

Yesterday at the weigh-in, Gonzalez weighed-in at 125.8, Marriaga at 125.9. Marriaga in typical fashion indiscernible to read any emotion, Gonzalez intense and focused.

Gonzalez’s manager, Frank Espinoza of Espinoza Boxing, knows Marriaga far too well, as he manages Oscar Valdez. 

The stakes are high for this co-main event, and it seems everyone involved knows it. Someone will go a long way down the pecking order of their division with a loss tonight.

Joet Gonzalez is a great fighter, but a fighter who has one strength that he does at a world-class level, pressure along with keeping his hands up. Gonzalez, the younger fighter, and emerging fighter, should have all the edges in this bout, but one thing is true, this could be a fight of the year-type bout as Marriaga’s best moments have been against fighters who come towards him as Marriaga is one of the hardest hitting 126 lbs and loves to snipe fighters come in, especially those look to make him fold under pressure.

Joet, who trains with his father “Chuy” Gonzalez and brother, Jousce Gonzalez, is looking to put his last fight to rest.

“I told my team that after the world title loss against Shakur, I wanted to get right back in and face the best and biggest names in the division.” Gonzalez said. “I want to show everyone that I’m a real contender and a top guy in the division. That’s why I took this challenge against Marriaga. He is one of the best, and I want to show that I’m a real fighter. I want to fight the biggest names possible. I would like to face the winner of Navarrete and Villa. I know I can compete with all these top guys at 126.”

On the flipside, Gonzalez probably finds solace knowing that Marriaga has mentally checked out of a fight against Vasyl Lomachenko, when Lomachenko was doing what Gonzalez hopes to do, which is physically and mentally exhausting pressure. Sure, Gonzalez isn’t the once-in-a-lifetime fighter of Lomachenko, but he brings that L.A.-style of pressure fighting that seems to be honed and crafted in that region, with generational tricks, that makes it difficult to face unless you’re one of the best fighters at distance like Shakur Stevenson, who has a nearly unbeatable step-back. 

Gonzalez enters this fight with a lot of unknowns. Gonzalez prior to the Stevenson fight was viewed as an emerging contender and exciting fighter, his loss a one-sided loss to Stevenson, saw Gonzalez go seemingly forgotten as well, as his promoter Golden Boy Promotions, now seems to be caught up in a legal mess with their top star, Canelo Alvarez. In short, Gonzalez needs to look good tonight since so much uncertainty lies ahead, as holding the WBO intercontinental featherweight title would be major leverage moving forward. 

Gonzalez and Marriaga fight tonight on ESPN+ with the undercard starting at 4:30 PM PST.

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Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle