By Miguel Maravilla
Glendora’s featherweight Joet Gonzalez (23-1, 14 KOs) returns to the ring Saturday night as he takes on former world title challenger Miguel Marriaga (29-3, 25 KOs) of Columbia. Gonzalez will fight Marriaga at the “Bubble” at the MGM Grand Conference Center live on the ESPN+ co feature.
“I’m excited to be fighting on Mexican Independence Day weekend,” Joet Gonzalez told Fightnews.com® “I want to make a statement in this fight. I want to show everyone that I’m a real contender and a top guy in the division. That is why I took this challenge against Marriaga. He is one of the best, and I want to show that I am a real fighter,” Gonzalez added.
Gonzalez dropped a unanimous decision to Shakur Stevenson in his last fight coming up short in his bid for the vacant WBO featherweight world title last October. Suffering his first defeat, Gonzalez will not let a defeat set him back as he is looking to get another world title shot. Standing in his way also looking to get another shot is the tough veteran Marriaga.
“Styles makes fights. I came to fight. Shakur came to win. He played safe and smart. It is what it is, but we moved past it. Now I am focused on Marriaga,” Gonzalez said. “After my first loss. I took a week off. Then I was back in the gym. I told my team that after the world title loss against Shakur, I wanted to get right back in and face the best and biggest names in the division.”
For this fight, Gonzalez trained with his father as they held camp at home in preparation for Marriaga.
“I was getting ready for my fight in March but then it was canceled. I was disappointed because I wanted to fight,” Gonzalez said. “The preparation was good. Nothing really changed. We were indoors most of the time. We didn’t really go out much to spar because of the COVID, but we are well prepared and ready for this fight,”
Marriaga comes into this fight winning four in a row since suffering a one-sided stoppage defeat to Vasyl Lomachenko in his shot at the title. Marriaga has come up short in other title fights, dropping decisions to Oscar Valdez in 2017 and Nicholas Walters back in 2016.
“Marriaga is a tough guy and he always comes to fight. His only losses are in world title fights,” Gonzalez said about Marriaga. “If I stop him it will show the world what I’m about in the featherweight division. He didn’t get stopped by Walters or Oscar. He did quit against Lomachenko. So, it would be a statement,”
With a win here, expect Gonzalez to make another bid for a world title shot. There is talk that the winner of this fight will likely take on the winner of Emmanuel Navarrete vs. Ruben Villa as they will square off for the vacant WBO featherweight title.
“I want a big fight coming off a loss. I took this fight. A win over Marriaga means a lot. The winner here can possibly fight the winner of Navarrete and Villa.”
Follow Miguel on Twitter @MigMaravilla