Friday Night Fights is back on ESPN, in some form, this evening, as Golden Boy puts forth select scraps which will be topped by a Joet Gonzalez v Rafael Rivera tango.
The two are featherweights, and the 19-0 Gonzalez, managed by Frank Espinoza, will be favored to get the W. He has 11 KOs to his credit, and comes of a March stoppage win over Rolando Magbanua, who entered at 29-6.
I touched based with the California fixture Espinoza, one of the most highly regarded talent scouts and manager types within the sweet and savage science.
Joet, how good is he now, and how good can he be?
“Joet is a very talented fighter with a decorated amateur background,” Espinoza said of the 24 year old. “What I like about Joet is that he is an exiting fighter to watch. He’s aggressive. But he uses intelligent aggressiveness. He really knows how to break down his opponent. And has been really coming into his own the last few fights!”
What single fight to this point best exemplifies his skill set, his upside, I asked…
“Well, it’s a combination of things. Joet has been looking very well in the gym. He has sparred top fighters here in LA such as Oscar Valdez, Vasyl Lomachenko, and many more. And all that experience is coming into play. But I have to say his last few fights have been impressive to me. He’s coming into his own. It’s not just winning. But how he’s winning, it’s been impressive!”
The stakes of this fight, please lay them out for me…winner gets what, possibly?
“The NABO belt is on the line,” the manager said. “And with a win over Rafael Rivera, he will be ranked. And in position for a world title!”