By: Hans Themistode
COVID-19 wrapped its disease-ridden hands around the boxing world far tighter than any other sport. While other leagues such as the NBA eventually found a self-preserving way to continue with their events, boxing was sequestered.
For months on end, fans would grab their television remote, flick on the big screen, and hope for good news. Each and every time, however, they were left in the dark as boxing continued to have its forced hiatus. Although boxing eventually found a new normal, hosting cards without fans in attendance, fighters who aren’t considered marquee names, were left on the back burner. Amongst them, was super lightweight contender Daniel Gonzalez.
After picking up a fairly wide decision loss at the hands of former titlist Chris Algieri in January of 2019, Gonzalez dusted himself off and rebuilt his image. Two straight wins saw the New York native primed and ready for his shot at the big time. But, due to the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, Gonzalez balled up his fist in anger as the opportunities he longed for passed him by.
“It was really frustrating,” said Gonzalez during an interview with BoxingInsider.com. “I had a fight set up to take on Ivan Baranchyk but that fell through. We had a fight set up against Jose Zepeda and that fell through as well, so it was difficult because boxing is a sport of consistency. Not only was it difficult to get a fight but also to get paid what you deserve.”
The unexpected time on the shelf could’ve gone one or two ways for Gonzalez. Either he could’ve sulked away and kept a surly attitude about how his once promising boxing career was developing, or, he could flip a weird and difficult situation to his advantage.
Admittedly, Gonzalez took the first option. But after realizing that everything happens for a reason, his entire mindset changed.
“I was certainly mad and upset initially but things happen and you just have to adapt. I just took that year and a half away to improve. Now, I’m so much better, faster, and stronger. I just improved my whole package.”
So far, Gonzalez is 1-0 post his COVID-19 hiatus, registering a unanimous decision win against journeymen Evincii Dixon on April 24th earlier this year. Picking up the victory was exactly what Gonzalez believes he needs to get himself on track. But, as he puts the finishing touches on an arduous training camp, Gonzalez is convinced that Petros Ananyan, his upcoming opponent this Saturday night at Barclays Center, is in for an agonizing day at the boxing office.
“Man, Ananyan has no idea what he’s getting himself into. I’m gonna hurt this guy. I’ve fought at Madison Square Garden before and that was a big deal for me but I believe Barclay’s is the bigger venue. It’s always been a dream of mines and I can’t wait to perform.”
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