Joet Gonzalez had the courage and determination to push Emanuel Navarrete harder than most expected Friday in San Diego. He just didn’t have the punch output to win the fight.
Navarrete, the indefatigable WBO featherweight titleholder, outworked Gonzalez to win a unanimous decision and retain his belt in a fast-paced, give-and-take battle that disappointed no one other than those connected to the loser.
The scores were 118-110, 116-112 and 116-112. Boxing Junkie scored it 117-111 for Gonzalez, nine rounds to three.
Navarrete (35-1, 29 KOs) has failed to put away only seven of his opponents in his professional career, which gives you an idea of how tough Gonzalez (24-2, 14 KOs) was.
The champion threw 979 punches, according to CompuBox. That normally is enough to wear down his foes and end fights early. However, Gonzalez refused to go away and fired back from beginning to end.
And he did so even though he fought with a bad cut below his swollen right eye and another one near the bridge of his nose for most of the fight.
Navarrete was impressed.
“Without a doubt I hurt him but every single time he came back,” the Mexican said through a translator. “And he also hurt me. A couple of shots he landed hurt me during the fight.”
In the end, however, Gonzalez couldn’t keep pace with one of the best volume punchers in the business.
“I think the difference was conditioning,” Navarrete said. “It was a very close fight, but I think conditioning was the difference between him and me.”
Gonzalez, from the Los Angeles area, thought he did enough to win the fight.
“Honestly, it was a close fight,” he said. “I felt I had the win. I hurt him in the third or fourth round with a right. His knees buckled. I thought I had the fight 7-5 or 8-4. I’m surprised by that one score, 118-110, I believe.
“But it is what it is. I came and did my best.”
What’s next for both men?
Navarrete has now gone unbeaten since his only loss in 2012 and has successfully defended his title two times, which follows a championship reign at 122 pounds. He can expect more big fights, which is what he’s after. He even said he was open to giving Gonzalez a rematch.
Gonzalez has now lost two title fights in a span of three outings, losing a near-shutout decision against Shakur Stevenson in October 2019 and to Navarrete on Friday.
Where does he go from here?
“Back to the gym, man,” he said. “Just keep working, just try to fight the best fighters, try to give the fans a great fight. And hopefully I’ll get an opportunity.”