Joet Gonzalez had to wait for his second shot at a major world title but feels that it will all be worth it when he fights Emanuel Navarrete on Oct. 15.
Joet Gonzalez is the type of blue-chip featherweight contender that most pundits could see becoming a world boxing champion. He has a strong amateur pedigree and shined throughout most of his professional career and is looking to knock off WBO champion Emanuel Navarrete on Friday, Oct. 15.
Gonzalez (24-1, 14 KOs) challenged once for the WBO belt, but 2016 Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson was the champion at the time. Gonzalez dropped a unanimous decision to Stevenson for his lone loss in 2019, but Gonzalez feels like he learned a great deal from that experience.
“Like you said, you know, just look at the mistakes I did,” Gonzalez told FanSided. “Look at the shots that I should have taken. Some opportunities were there, and I just missed those opportunities. And pretty much just study film.”
Gonzalez bounced back with an impressive victory over former title contender Miguel Marriaga. He won by wide margins on the judges’ scorecards, but his momentum came to a stop. Gonzalez was next in line for a shot at a title, but he had to wait for Navarrete to fight Christopher Diaz.
Gonzalez wanted a fight in the interim, but boxing politics prevented him from getting back in the ring. That may have added to his fire in a move that could backfire for Navarrete.
Joet Gonzalez expects to be the new WBO featherweight champion after he meets Emanuel Navarrete in the ring on Oct. 15
“It was very frustrating because I was expecting to fight Navarrete, and then he fought Christopher Diaz,” said Gonzalez. “I was trying to get another fight in-between, and just politics. I was told that if I take another fight, I would be skipped in my ranking. I basically just had to wait it out.”
Gonzalez has had several long layoffs between fights and has shown that time off doesn’t negatively impact his performance.
“I think I’ve proven the fight before that it was 11 months before my last fight, and I’m always in the gym,” said Gonzalez. “I’m always ready. Layoffs don’t affect me. I’ve proven that.”
Gonzalez has had extra time to prepare for the hard-punching Navarrete, but he didn’t see the extra time as a bonus. He was ready for Navarrete, and Gonzalez was just irritated by Navarrete’s stall tactics.
“I never saw it as a bonus,” said Gonzalez. “I was more upset about it because I wanted to get back in there, but in the back of my head, I knew the long layoff doesn’t affect me.”
Navarrete (34-1, 29 KOs) is one of the biggest punchers in the featherweight division. He has an 82 percent KO rating and hasn’t lost since early in his career. Navarrete is much more of a puncher than a stylistic boxer. Gonzalez has a pressure style but believes that the action could play out several ways in the ring. He thinks he has a significant advantage over past Navarrete opponents because he is a more refined boxer.
“I see some flaws in Navarrete,” explained Gonzalez. “I seen him have trouble when he fought Ruben Villa. The thing is, Ruben didn’t have the pop to keep him off, and then Christopher Diaz was moving a little bit more too, but he got caught in an exchange in a war with Navarrete, and obviously, he was a smaller guy and got beat to the shots.
“I feel like I could box better than those fighters. I’m a natural featherweight, and I think that’s what’s going to help me with this fight.”
At 28-years-old, Gonzalez is approaching his prime and is looking to seize the moment against Navarrete at the Pechanga Arena in San Diego, CA, in the main event on Oct. 15.