Saturday night from the Bally’s Grand Ballroom in Atlantic City, NJ., Goosen Tutor Promotions in association with Gulfstream Promotions and SHOWTIME presented ShoBox: The New Generation. In the 8 round middleweight main attraction hard hitting undefeated prospect Brandon “Flawless” Gonzales (15-0, 10KOs), of Sacramento, CA., beat durable veteran 34-year-old Ossie “The Ghanaian” Gladiator (26-9-2, 10KOs), by questionable split decision.
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27-year-old Brandon Gonzales — a late bloomer who became a top rated amateur — trains alongside WBA Super Middleweight champion Andre Ward under the tutelage of Virgil Hunter and was vying to keep his perfect record intact.
The durable iron-chinned Ossie Duran of Patterson NJ., by way of Accra, Ghana — who went the distance with aggression personified James Kirkland — brought extensive experience into the ring. In eight defeats Duran — the former British Commonwealth Junior Middleweight and Welterweight champion — had never been stopped and would present a considerable test for the young lion.
Both men were jabbing and going to the body to start the bout with Duran connecting on a nice combination to the head followed by a left hook upstairs with a minute to go in the frame. Moments later the challenger thumped Gonzales with a hard over hand right to the side of the head as Gonzales zoned in on a few left hooks to the body in a round that probably went to the “Ghanaian Gladiator,” via power strikes to the head.
Brandon needed to work off the jab from a good distance using his angles and footwork to establish his left hand while the veteran Duran was looking to out-jab, apply pressure and make his head nowhere to be found.
Brandon Gonzales — recently known as the man that cut Andre Ward in sparring during preparation for Ward’s Super Six finale opposite Carl Froch — was having a hard time breaking through Duran’s guard so he focused on the body of the Ghanaian who was controlling the pace and bringing adversity to the prospect’s doorstep from the outset. With under a minute in the 2nd round Gonzales scored with a quick combo to the head which Duran countered with a right to the body – left to the head. Duran was making Brandon fight his fight as they traded on the inside for the last :15 seconds to the bell.
Brandon came out busy in the 4th landing a right uppercut to the body but he was still having trouble dodging Ossie’s jab – right hand. Midway through the round Gonzales worked successfully to the head and body throwing his punches in combination as he starting warming up moving from side to side and landing with both hands on the outside. Duran continued to score with head snapping jabs as blood appeared from a cut over the left eye of Gonzales who won the frame.
Both men spent the first minute of round four trying to out-jab one another until Duran scored with a solid left hook to the side of Brandon’s head followed moments later by two more from body to head. Gonzales was keeping a good pace but getting hit with the harder more meaningful shots, especially Duran’s powerful jab.
To start round five referee Lindsey Page halted the action to have Duran’s corner tie up a loose dreadlock on the Ghanaian’s head and when action resumed the warriors exchanged heavy artillery to the body in a phone booth. Gonzales couldn’t stop the jab as Duran worked off it to blast him with good rights and lefts to the grill in the latter half of the stanza. Duran closed out another good period with a thunderous left hook to the face of the prospect who was falling behind on my card.
With some real talk, Virgil Hunter tried to light a fire under his charge between the 5th and 6th letting Brandon know he had to take the remaining rounds. Gonzales responded well utilizing lateral movement and letting his hands go from the outside as Ossie continued landing brain jarring jabs. Gonzales made an adjustment making Ossie miss his power punches by moving and won the round decisively with combinations from afar while showing the wherewithal to follow instruction.
Although Gonzales got hit with a head twisting right cross he borrowed from the 6th round script and took the 7th frame while closing the gap.
Heading into the last three minutes Duran was ahead by one point on my score card with both men badly needing to secure the finale. Duran started well with a couple power punches up top followed by a stout jab. Brandon was letting his hands go but most of the blows were being blocked as Duran clipped him with a right left combo to the dome midway through. With just over a minute to go in the contest Gonzales scored with a few hard crosses upstairs as both men, breathing heavily, exchanged on the inside pretty evenly down the stretch in a good closer for the Ghanaian.
When Joe Antonacci announced the results after eight rounds of good boxing, Julie Lederman scored it 77-75 Gonzales while George Hill scored it 78-74 Duran and John Mckaie had it 77-75 Gonzales, awarding Brandon a hard fought controversial split decision as the crowd booed the outcome.
The win kept Gonzales’ record golden at 15-0 with 10 knockouts while Ossie Duran fell to 26-9-2 with 10 knockouts.
In the 8 round welterweight co-feature 25-year-old Artemio “King” Reyes Jr. (14-1, 11KOs), of Colton, CA., handed Norwalk, California’s 21-year-old unbeaten prospect Javier “El Intocable” Molina (9-1, 4KOs), his first loss with a unanimous decision victory.
Molina was part of a fine 2008 Olympic team that included names like Gary Russell Jr., Demetrius Andrade, Shawn Estrada and Deontay Wilder just to name a few and Javier was looking to test himself for the first time against a step up in Reyes Jr. A year of precious evolvement was lost on Molina due to hand injuries and he needed to get back into the swing of things with a statement against Artemio.
Ken Thompson promoted Artemio Reyes Jr. displays much character as he takes care of his ailing father whose in a coma, runs the family business and attends college all while fighting as a pro. Artemio was challenging to make a name for himself in hopes of ensuring a future he works so hard for. He was also looking for revenge because of a loss at the hands of Javier’s brother Oscar in the amateurs.
Molina used his length and footwork well in round one never letting Reyes Jr. inside as he took the round with numerous swift jabs and a couple left hooks.
Artemio closed the distance in the 2nd frame and the fight heated up as they began to exchange on the inside. Reyes Jr. let both hands go non-stop to the head and body landing a good jab of his own as well as some nice uppercuts, especially the left. Molina, willing to trade in close began to release his right hand with combination’s to the head and body. The speed advantage for Javier was evident but it didn’t matter in the 2nd as Reyes Jr. took the round with volume, pressure and accuracy.
Molina looked as though he was going to revert to boxing on the outside with his jab but Artemio cut off the ring well and was on top of him as they resumed going back-and-forth. Although Molina was landing very nice left and right crosses from head to body, Reyes Jr. did that too while controlling the real estate and keeping a high pace.
Javier landed some borderline left hooks to the body prompting a few warnings from referee David Franciosi who told Molina between the 3rd and 4th rounds that it would be the last time he warned him before taking a point away. The combatants were giving the crowd great action in the 4th period displaying beautiful inside fighting but Reyes Jr.’s punches were more powerful and effective as he seemed to win three straight rounds.
Halfway through round five Reyes Jr. landed the best punch to that point, a straight right up top that seemed to bother Molina who returned three stout rights to the mouth of Artemio in defense. Reyes Jr. found a home for his left and right uppercuts as his punches began to take a toll on Molina who kept the rounds close by fighting fire with fire while displaying mettle.
The pressure of “King” Reyes Jr. was just too much as he imposed his will and by the 6th frame Molina’s legs looked weary and the steam had dissipated from his punches. Artemio dominated the round and going into the last two frames Molina was way behind.
Molina showed gusto in the 7th stanza throwing caution to the wind and successfully winging right hands with everything he had as he took the round on my card.
In the final round both men’s finesse and power were gone but it didn’t stop them from going tit-for-tat as they had all night. It was a close round that probably went to Reyes Jr.
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