Gonzales set to fight for third time in Reno today | NevadaAppeal.com

Gonzales set to fight for third time in Reno today

Justin Lawson

RENO – Just a few years ago, Brandon Gonzales was busy working at Arco Arena in Sacramento as a janitor, dreaming about the big time. How one day, he would be a headliner that more than 18,000 fans would flock to see.

It may have sounded foolish to some people back then, but since that time Gonzales has built a name for himself in the crowded middleweight boxing division as a highly-touted prospect. And while he has made two appearances at Arco on an undercard bouts, he is still looking to become that marquee name.

“I always joked around, ‘Hopefully, one day I’ll be able to sell this place out,'” Gonzales said. “From cleaning it up, to cleaning house … I did fight there, not at the magnitude that I’d like to see, but getting in there is getting in there.”

Gonzales, who will face Darnell Boone (16-14, 6 KOs) at the Grand Sierra Resort at 8 p.m. today, has blazed through two fighters already in the last four months and will likely fight every six weeks for the foreseeable future. The fast-paced schedule is in stark contrast to the one he had in previous eight fights before being signed by Northern Nevada promotional company Let’s Get It On Promotions.

“I’d fight every week if I could, but six weeks is good to,” Gonzales said.

Since making the jump from the USA Boxing team in 2007, Gonzales spent his first two years as an unsigned pro, making it hard for him to find steady work in the ring. Going unsigned for so long, may have come as a surprise to some considering Gonzales’ stellar amateur career. He was the Golden Gloves champion in 2004 and ranked the top amateur in the United States in 2005.

Gonzales went on to join the USA Boxing team where he won the gold medal in the USA vs. Mexico series and silver medals in both the USA vs. Korea and USA vs. Ireland.

It looked like Gonzales was going to be a vital member of the team for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. But well before the games began, Gonzales surprised nearly everyone by announcing he would turn pro at the end of 2006.

“It was a hard decision because I would have loved to have been in Beijing and represented my country,” Gonzales said. “But being where I was at the time in my life, starting a family and having a lot of responsibilities to take care of, I thought being a professional was the best route to take.”

So far, Gonzales has had little trouble in the ring as only one of his first 11 bouts has gone the distance – a unanimous decision against Andy Mavros in January 2009. In his last fight, on Jan. 29, he dropped Dumont Welliver 1 minute, 25 seconds into the second round. But Boone should be Gonzales’ biggest challenge yet.

Boone had current WBA Super Middleweight champion Andre Ward on the canvas in 2005 before losing to him in six-round unanimous decision. He also went 10 rounds with Curtis Stevens, who Yerington native Jesse Brinkley recently defeated for the mandatory No. 2 IBF ranking, in a loss in 2007.

“This going to be his toughest test,” said Tommy Lane of Let’s Get It On Promotions. “He’s a veteran. I think he’s going to take Brandon rounds, so we’ll be able to see what Brandon’s made of.”

The undercard for what is billed as Reno Xtreme Fights III will be a mixture of two other boxing matches and three mixed-martial arts bouts.

Omar Zalvidar of Reno vs. Tom Peterson, both of whom are making their pro debuts, will face off in a four-round junior middleweight bout and Karim Mayfield (11-0, 7 KOs), who was recently signed by Let’s Get It On Promotions, will face Mario Ramos (17-6) in a six-round welterweight bout.

On the MMA card is light-heavyweights Ryan Wong (1-1) vs. Rick Randolph (4-3), featherweights Jenny Trujillo (1-0) vs. Nicole Johnson (1-1) and middlweights Josh Turner (3-1) vs. Adam Albright (3-1).