The WBO Light Flyweight title is on the line when Jonathan Gonzalez defends it against Mark Anthony Barriga. In an ever-changing division, Gonzalez has big dreams of unifying the light flyweight titles. But he must prove he’s a “real champion” by turning back Barriga, who is just returning to the sport. The Gonzalez vs Barriga odds should firmly support Gonzalez in what should be nothing short of a resounding win.
Gonzalez Must Prove Worthy of Big Ambitions
Unifying championships seems to be the “in” thing with boxing champions today. Jonathan Gonzalez wasted no time after edging Elwin Soto to capture the WBO belt; he quickly called out the other champions. His promoter, Tuto Zabala Jr., spoke on Gonzalez’s plans to unify the division.
“I just spoke to Akihiko Honda, who I work and collaborate with and there are a few possibilities for even Gonzalez to fight in Japan,” Zabala said. Honda is Japan’s biggest promoter and if there is someone who can make “super fights” happen with Japanese boxers, it could be him.
“There is a possibility of a unification fight against Kenshiro Teraji (Ken Shiro) or an optional title defense.”
Ultimately, Gonzalez went with the latter as he now defends against Barriga. But the boxing betting odds should heavily favor the newly crowned champion to turn Barriga away and continue to look for a unification bout. A fight with Ken Shiro could be the biggest in the division in a while.
Gonzalez won a pair of gold medals as an amateur in 2008 and 2010. After he turned pro, his three defeats only came in championship bouts with his most recent being a TKO loss against Kosei Tanaka a division above. As a light flyweight, Gonzalez is undefeated.
The Puerto Rican is 31 but has a long road ahead of him. Light flyweight remains one of the most competitive divisions but a signature win from Gonzalez could give him a ticket to the boxing match that will put him on the map – if he isn’t on it yet.
- Boxer records: Jonathan Gonzalez (c) (25-3-1, 14 KOs) vs Mark Anthony Barriga (11-1-0, 2 KOs)
- Date: Saturday, 7 p.m. ET
- Television/live stream: Pro Box TV
- Location: Osceola Heritage Park, Kissimmee
Barriga is Back With a Vengeance
After almost four years since his defeat to Carlos Licona, Barriga is back in the title picture. The Filipino suffered his first professional loss against “Mexicanito”, which came via a split decision. That remains Barriga’s only career blemish as he took a 27-month break, moved up a weight class, and soundly defeated his Filipino opponents to book a title shot against Gonzalez.
The Gonzalez vs Barriga odds may not look kindly on him, but Barriga has fought and won at the highest level. He won gold at the 2013 Southeast Games and bronze at the 2014 Asian Games. The 29-year-old originally competed at mini-flyweight and even called out Hiroto Kyoguchi, who is now in the same division at junior flyweight.
Like his opponent, Barriga now has a fresh slate at junior flyweight although he is moving up and Barriga is moving down. Still, there shouldn’t be much of a size difference between the two though the Gonzalez vs Barriga odds would underestimate the Filipino. Much of it may have to do with his lack of power, a style that has seen him criticized even by his own compatriots.
“As a fighter, I just want to go in there and enjoy,” Barriga began in an interview. “Us Filipinos like to down those with a style similar to Mayweather or if you do not punch hard because fans want to see a brawl. That is what they are used to. But why would I force myself to that kind of style if it does not fit me? It is rather simple, why would I brawl if I can toy with my opponent?”
Indeed, Barriga’s style may not be fan-friendly. But those who bet on boxing fights love his type of boxer: A calculated technician who knows how to play the scorecards.Follow us on Twitter