On October 16, a pro boxing show ran at Barclays Center, with a Cletus Seldin v William Silva junior welterweight scrap topping the Triller bill.
There were actually only four fights presented, as a light heavywweight battle fell out the day before. That said, people who attended or watched on FITE got solid bang for their buck, as all of the bouts featured ebbs and flows.
In one support tango, Danny Gonzalez took on Petros Ananayan, and I liked “El Gallo” Gonzalez to get the nod in this junior welterweight showdown.
I'd seen Gonzalez live a couple times, and also he's promoted by Star Boxing, the same outfit that main event A-side Cletus Seldin fights for. Yeah, I thought maybe the writing was on the wall, for a “Star sweep” at Barclays.
Alas, no; Seldin had his hand raised in triumph, after delivering a pretty filthy KO of Silva.
But Danny Gonzalez didn't have his hand raised.
Gonzalez started slow, but got the rust off, got cooking midway through. But the 33-year-old Ananyan hung in, and had a bit more oomph late, his work in round ten proved the difference maker. One judge had it even, while the other two rewarded Ananyan with 96-93 tallies.
The fight deserved applause from the watchers, and yes, that includes me, I absolutely will clap for jobs well done from my seat in press row. And it's funny, I applauded the 31-year-old Gonzalez, who dropped to 20-3-1, for his effort as his ten rounder finished. And just as much, virtually, maybe more, for how he conducted himself after.
Gonzalez' trainer is Moises Roman Jr. I reached out to him, to congratulate the team for that effort, and that sportsmanship after the decision was announced. Roman thanked me, and offered his thoughts on what went down at Barclays. “All in all it was an extremely competitive fight, especially going up against a fighter with such vast amateur experience, somewhat in the range of more than 200 amateur fights on the elite level,” Roman said.
“Furthermore, Ananyan was coming off a supremely solid win against Subriel Matias, a fighter with lots of elite amateur experience as well! Danny’s determination heart and grit is not something to be ignored, so I felt he did more than anyone expected.”
Yes, ideally Danny would have fought early on more like he did in the middle to late rounds. But Roman isn't nitpicking in the least. It's quite clear the teacher holds the student in high regard.
“As to my sense of pride in Danny, it’s beyond challenging to describe the dichotomous nature of our relationship, that being, grappling back and forth between my role as a father figure and as a disciplined trainer. Caring for him as a concerned father in that corner and simultaneously directing him to the best of his abilities and encouraging him to continue to fight this fight was indescribable experience. You have to really try and dig deep into your heart to understand how proud I am of seeing him compete at that level, especially through adversity, with him being hurt a few times and still fighting back with all the blood flowing.”
He shared more on what he was feeling while watching “El Gallo” be forced to summon reserves from a tank almost on ‘E.'
“As a father figure it was extremely hard for me to stay focused and not let him see me worried,” Roman Jr continued. “As a father seeing a hurt son, I still had a job as a coach to keep my feelings in check and get him through the fight with my directions to make sure he stayed competitive and maintained all his faculties in the fight. I am beyond proud of Danny; with the grit, the blood, the warrior, the rooster, no blue chip prospect coming out of the amateurs, no network hype job, no entourage, no yes man, no hang arounds, no big time sponsors, no bling, just an all out fighter brawler, all balls, heart and grit! Stay tuned WE WILL FIGHT AGAIN!”
See his post to Instagram the next day, below:
He didn't bitch, moan, whine, complain, or blame. See that hashtag? How refreshing is that to see, after a loss?
I reached out to Gonzalez after the effort, and asked him to grade himself. “If I had to grade myself it would be an F because I failed,” said Gonzalez, from Woodhaven, Queens, NY. “The only thing I was happy about in this fight was I got to show my heart and determination to the world.”
And look at what he showed days after…That attitude, I wish it could be bottled, and handed around. Or put in a rolling paper, passed around like a blunt. #NeverGiveUp…Promising he'll be back, better.
How refreshing is that?
And for the record, would he have done anything differently against the now 16-2-2 Armenian? “Looking back at the fight now, I definitely would’ve been more aggressive the first four rounds, as well I would’ve been more defensively responsible in the tenth round,” the ‘loser' told me.
It's clear, he loves the sport, even though his record would indicate to some that it doesn't love him back to the same degree. “I box because I love this,” said Gonzalez, a pro since 2012. “This sport has giving me everything. It has changed who I am and has turned me into an unstoppable human being. I truly feel boxing has giving me the ability to accomplish whatever I want. I don’t fight for money, I fight to inspire my family, my team and my supporters. I’ve been boxing for 15 years nonstop. My dedication and obsession to the sport is unmatched. My story can’t end here. I have to accomplish my dreams and become a world champion. I’ve devoted the majority of my life to this sport and all the pain and sacrifices have to eventually pay off. I can't live life without giving 100% effort to my dreams. Regardless of the outcome, I will live my life with no regrets, knowing that I put everything I had into accomplishing the dream.”
Gonzalez isn't expected to win any end of the year awards. But know this–I admire him, and respect him just as much if not more than just about all the bold-face talents who will win BWAA awards, because he is a throwback sort. He's not fixated on the money, doesn't see himself as a ‘businessman-boxer.' He sees himself, because he is, a fighter, in the best sense of word.