Segura Derails Gonzalez

By Matt McGrain on August 18, 2013
Segura Derails Gonzalez
Giovani Segura took the role of school bully and Gonzalez that of the reluctant victim.

The choice of opponent in Puerto Rico and Wales were baffling to say the least, and two careers lie in ruins as a result…

Another puncher detonated another fine boxer last night, Giovani Segura of Mexico traveling to Isla Verde, Puerto Rico, and derailing top prospect Jonathan Gonzalez just hours after Sergey Kovalev destroyed Nathan Cleverly.

If anything, Segura’s mauling of his young opponent was the more disturbing of the two maltreatments that took place in the squared circle this weekend. Gonzalez won the first round with a stabbing left and decent movement, but already he had developed the propensity for stopping, punching and admiring that work that would be his undoing. Gonzalez is no Calderon. The Iron Boy was a legitimate shoeshine but he knew how to move for every second that he was in the ring, and it was only a combination of age and Segura’s surging attacks that led to his fistic demise. Whilst Gonzalez has suffered none of the deterioration in mobility Calderon had suffered prior to Segura’s dual stoppages of him in 2010 and 2011, in truth he has nothing like the elusiveness displayed by his countryman in the first place. This called for a disciplined and adult performance from 22-year-old (now 13-1). This is what he set out to deliver, but when the going got tough, regression ensued.

Segura, who has slowed notably since the halcyon days of his p4p top ten status, nevertheless was able to corner his fleet-footed opponent early in the second, although it was at the cost of shipping sniping straight lefts to the body from Gonzalez’s southpaw stance. When, in the final minute of the round, Segura got inside and Gonzalez allowed himself to be walked, the youngster seemed to have the situation under control as he wedged Segura’s bludgeoning right in under his armpit, but the empty lefts that the Mexican prodded him with in the clinch seemed to bother him and rather than waiting for the referee to force the break he committed the cardinal sin of providing the puncher with space. Stepping out of the clinch and back he found nothing but real-estate behind him and the marauding Segura in front. A step to his right may yet have saved him, but chin in the air, he instead stepped back and for a seasoned professional this is an invitation to hit the heavy bag. Segura accepted this invitation and Gonzalez was on the ground looking up. He committed a second sin in immediately rising, but this had been no flash knockdown and the youngster was clearly hurt. 

When the referee waved them back together after the standing eight, a playground battle began, Segura taking the role of school bully and Gonzalez that of the reluctant victim. Segura heaved in massive, scything right hands, determined not to let his chance go in a surprising abandonment of discipline, whilst Gonzalez, upon realizing that his legs had betrayed him, winged back with similar abandon. You won’t find any of these punches in a manual.

With every step Gonzalez betrayed his woeful physical state. Bravely heaving in lefts and trying desperately to keep Segura’s right hand tied he was nevertheless hammered to the canvas for a second time with 14 seconds remaining on the clock. The referee would have been justified in stopping the bout at this point, as Gonzalez had shipped five flush or near flush right hands to the face as he stumbled in a wide semi-circle and to the canvas but instead the official did Gonzalez the “favor” of ruling the knockdown a slip in a piece of refereeing as bizarre as Terry O’Connor’s helping Cleverly to his stool at the end of round three last night in Wales. In truth he was only delaying the inevitable.

After showing great heart to arguably win the second with his restored legs in the third, Gonzalez was utterly crushed in the fourth. Every punch was hurting him now, from Segura’s spooky up-jab to the cuffing right hands that sent him in that wide circle again at 1:55. Forced to stand his ground by pressure and returning deficiencies in his legs he was bowled over by another right just seconds later, this time taking eight seconds on one knee before rising. His face bore the look of a man aware of the inevitability of his destruction but determined to meet it without flinching.

Punching without fear of reprisals now, Segura had graduated from schoolyard bully to pub drunk. The shots he was missing were terminating somewhere behind his stance as he looked to take a shattered Gonzalez out with one blow. Punch drunk, Gonzalez was firing back from some place deep inside him but it was a fight he could not win. A flush left to the jaw crumpled him alarmingly to the canvas face first, knees, face, fists, reclaiming his haunches, but he was looking down and away from the referee during the count. An attempt to rise at nine seemed filled with more panicked realization than quittage but the result was the same—Gonzalez had been counted out.

An emotional Segura talked afterwards of a match with The Transnational Boxing Board’s #1 contender Juan Francisco Estrada, regarded by many as the division’s best fighter despite its being ruled by champion Akira Yaegashi. He also mentioned Brian Viloria and Edgar Sosa, fighters who have previously beaten him that he is keen to rematch. At his age, it is likely that only big fights interest him and his destruction of one of flyweight’s brightest prospects has earned him such a fight. It is legitimate to ask how he came to that opportunity, however. Like Cleverly before him, Gonzalez has been protected and built by his promotion team only for him to be thrown to an unorthodox and deadly puncher before he was anything like ready for it—Gonzalez has never boxed longer than eight rounds in his career. Whilst the time was right in both cases for a step up, the choice of opponent in Puerto Rico and Wales were baffling to say the least, and two careers lie in ruins as a result.

Both can come back—Gonzalez, especially, has plenty of time left to build a career—but it’s hard to imagine any valuable lessons springing from these defeats.

Unless you count the confirmation of one of boxing’s eternal truths:

When the right man hits you, you go.

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  1. Bodyshots 10:10am, 08/18/2013

    Gonzalez wasn’t remotely prepared for the intensity of a very experienced Segura. Severely poor judgment on the part of his management. Excellent gamble and win by Segura. The only downside is the relative ease with which he earned the win. In retrospect, it was little more than a tune-up and mismatch in Giovanni’s favor, which was pretty unfair to Gonzalez and exceedingly stupid and premature of his management if they were anticipating Gonzalez developing into PR’s next boxing great. A lot of premature calculations like that going on in a desperate PR these days.

  2. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 06:45am, 08/18/2013

    Speaking of which…..the Illinois Boxing Commission was actually going to give Celestino Ruiz the assignment Friday for the “Pin”/Mollo fight….this is the guy who dropped the F Bomb on Mollo in the first fight…...it’s not just a matter of tone deafness….or incompetence…..or even corruption…..it’s a matter of a sport being run by individuals who in some cases are marginally developmentally disabled.

  3. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 06:32am, 08/18/2013

    Another great report from this great weekend of boxing….the referee was acting like La Bomba was his adopted son….when he embraced him at the end after the stoppage I thought he might kiss him. You can always tell the away fighter….he’s the one the referee converses with the most.

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