By Don Smith: Fan Base Promotions has officially ended its’ relationship with former IBF/NABF Super Middleweight Champion Jesus "El Martillo" Gonzales. According to a FBP spokesperson, this decision comes after consulting with several Neurological specialists and multiple state boxing officials who recommend that the popular Phoenix pugilist end his career as a precautionary health measure.
Their conclusion was based on screened results from past and recent MRI tests. Attempts to reach the 28 year old Arizona Native ,by phone, failed. What the former champ will decide to do is pure speculation, but his options are limited and If he does choose to continue boxing, he will find it almost impossible to fight on the East coast where he has been previously denied a boxing license by the State of Connecticut which alerted other states of its’ findings. In effect, the action taken by Connecticut could snowball into a state by state boycott and force him to fight outside of the United States. It is within the realm of possibility.
If this is his last hurrah as a fighter, Gonzales will leave the game without winning a world title, a promise he couldn’t deliver to his loyal fans. Some boxing scribes will write that he didn’t work hard enough to reach the top. He was described a natural born athlete whose vertical leap was high enough for him to reach up and touch the rim of a collegiate basketball hoop. Despite his unquestionable ability, his boxing handlers grumbled about his work ethic. He earned a reputation of showing up late and leaving early. In reality, the son of a boxer was better suited to fight at 160, but he insisted on fighting at 168 until Adonis "Superman" Stevenson convinced him otherwise when the knocked out the much smaller Gonzales in the first round of their brief encounter at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 2/12/12. The Knockout replay went viral on You tube and El Martillo’s (Spanish for the Hammer) hometown fan base was in a state of disbelief.
After the dramatic KO loss, FBP moved quickly to find him a viable opponent. They felt he had to overcome the mental and physical trauma absorbed from the Stevenson loss even though Fan Base didn’t want him to fight Stevenson in the first place. It was Gonzales who made the decision to fly to Montreal, Quebec and fight in Superman’s backyard.
Later in 2012, Gonzales was offered a fight with Elvis Ayala, a good, but not great middleweight. Without much hesitation, Team Gonzales agreed to take on the fight. It was short notice; no time to waste. Gonzales was asked to shed a few pounds down to 160 and provide a clean MRI. It is mandatory to undergo a MRI test after suffering a knockout. It is for the fighter’s protection.
Time passed and still no MRI. Finally, Gonzales went to his family physician who referred the boxer to a Radiology facility in Phoenix where the test was conducted. Upon completion, his family doctor looked at the images and declared the Phoenix fit to fight. Fan Base was happy, Gonzales was happy. The next step was to simply forward the results to the Quebec Boxing Commission where authorities would look at the "positive" test result and lift the suspension placed on Gonzales and then forward the proper paper work to Connecticut. Simple as ABC. Excuse me, nothing is simple in boxing.
About 7-8 days before the scheduled fight date, no word, no paperwork. The promoter was getting anxious and about to go into panic mode when Connecticut boxing officials started to look into El Martillo’s medical past. They reportedly found MRI tests conducted on him when he boxed for Top Rank and Star Boxing. In 2005 Gonzales, suffered an 8th round TKO loss at the hands of Jose Luis Vertuche at America West Arena in Phoenix. Gonzales claimed he broke a hand in the early rounds and the injury led to his ultimate loss. After the fight, the relationship between Top Rank and Gonzales became less than amicable. Both parties denied a spat, but Gonzales was eventually released.
It was toward the end of the Top Rank era when rumors began to spread about administered tests that didn’t bode well for the future of Jesus Gonzales. To be more specific, an MRI test allegedly conducted by Top Rank after the Zertuche fight. Gonzales dismissed the rumors as smear attacks from Top Rank. He retaliated by playing the victim card. Almost everyone in the Arizona Boxing Community fell in line with his sympathetic defense. After all, he was the hometown boy and Phoenix loves El Martillo.
After Top Rank said goodbye, the young fighter found a temporary home with Star Boxing who signed him and then released him, after a few fights, amid more rumors. Some of his closest friends worried about him and thought his career was over. He had become a boxing afterthought. Boxing writers and sportscasters rarely mentioned his name and when they did, it was in the past tense.
At a time when his boxing career was literally on life support, Fan Base Promotions saw something that others didn’t see and they signed him. He scored impressive wins in Canada and Phoenix and a huge win over tough Francisco Sierra at the US Airways Center in Phoenix on July 8, 2011. It was a night to remember, more than 5,000 rabid boxing fans bought tickets instead of staying home to watch the ESPN FNF telecast on their home box while sipping a few cool ones. After the fight, Gonzales refused to go to the hospital and take care of several nasty cuts, instead he mingled with crowd, signed autographs and posed for pictures. It was a historic night for Arizona boxing fans and they will always remember Gonzales for that special night when he won the IBF/NABF Super Middleweight Title.
When Gonzales was removed from the Ayala Card, I called Connecticut to find out what happened. I was told that the Connecticut Boxing Commission reviewed previous MRI tests and decided those results showed a clear and present danger to the health of Gonzales; therefore, he wouldn’t be allowed to fight Ayala or anyone else in the state of Connecticut or New York. In other words, he is banned to fight in New York and Connecticut. The state of Connecticut didn’t bother to look at the MRI result submitted to Montreal before removing Gonzales from the Ayala fight. In fact, it wasn’t received until after the decision to ban Gonzales from fighting was made. States and nations rarely share the same standards and rules in the administering of health rules and tests.
Jesus may argue with the cautious and protective decisions made by the State of Connecticut and Fan Base, it is his right to do so. My personal concern is his health. I hope he goes to an independent radiologist for an MRI and then takes the film to a highly qualified Neurologist to be read. As for his legacy...that will take care of itself. He should be more worried about his personal health and family. Also, I am aware of the social media chatter concerning Jesus and the now canceled fight between Sergio Mora and El Martillo. For the record, Mora and Gonzales were to be paid the same dollar amount if the fight scheduled for April 19 became a reality. At least five knuckle heads sent me emails insisting that Mora was set to draw a $20,000.00 payday while Jesus aka Ernie was going to get a wet handshake and $3.000.00. I saw the contract and it read that both fighters were going to draw the same size paycheck. Glad to nip a lie in the bud. Until Next Time!
March 17, 2013