On Friday night Florida played host to a world title fight, as WBO Light Flyweight champion Jonathan "Bomba" Gonzalez (26-3-1-1, 14) successfully defended his title for the first time, as he over-came the talented, but under-sized, Filipino challenger Mark Anthony Barriga (11-2, 2).
Early on the boxing skills of Barriga were on show, as he rocked Gonzalez in the opening round, and seemed to have the skills to out box the champion who looked surprisingly apprehensive at times, despite the fact that Barriga isn't a noted puncher. It was high level, high speed chess early on, with Barriga getting the better of it.
Sadly for the Filipino however as the bout went on his boxing skills proved not to be enough, and although he regularly backed Gonzalez up he couldn't ever pin him down, as the footwork and movement of Gonzalez kept him safe and allowed him to pot shot Barriga, who followed Gonzalez rather than cutting Gonzalez off.
Sadly for Barriga the later rounds did not go his way at all, as Gonzalez began to turn the screw in round 9. He became more aggressive, he was more willing to use his weight, size and try to bully Barriga around. That had success in tiring Barriga out, and left the Filipino more and more open to being caught by the heavier shots of Gonzalez, who could never land clean enough to Barriga, but was being outlanded by the champion who seemed to do enough to eek out a very close but fair victory.
After 12 rounds the judges turned in the scorecards. The first of those was 115-113 with the other two being 117-111. We thought the 117-111 scores were harsh, but it was clear that Gonzalez was the rightful winner, and he showed some nice touches here, but we do worry about him against the best at 108lbs, especially given how Barriga managed to hurt him early on and how he had to rely on his size to over-come Barriga, rather than his boxing. That will be a major issue against fighters like Hiroto Kyoguchi and Kenshiro Teraji, who are both strong and powerful Light Flyweights.
As for Barriga we'd love to see him return to his natural Minimumweight division, where he really can make a mark on the world level. Sadly at 108lbs he lacks the physicality and the power needed against the top fighters in the division, and it's a deep division as well meaning there isn't going to be an easy title for him to grab.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.