By Greg Gulas
Chris Fernandez is a realist, a boxer who at 35 years of age is appreciative of the opportunity to be fighting for his first title belt.
Miguel Gonzalez, 10 years Fernandez’s junior, feels if his career is to continue its course then he needs to seize the moment when the two clash on Saturday at St. Lucy’s Banquet Center in Campbell.
On the line will be the WBF International light welterweight championship in a 10-round bout.
“I fought for a state title but nothing of this magnitude,” Fernandez said. “I realize that I am fighting on Miguel’s home turf; in his backyard so to speak, so it’s no secret that I must knock him out if I expect to even have a chance.”
Gonzalez, nicknamed “Silky Smooth,” is 16-2 (13 KOs) and undefeated in his last 10 appearances since suffering a six-round unanimous decision setback to Angelo Santana on Oct. 31, 2009, at the Treasure Island Casino in Las Vegas.
He’s fought five times since December and on March 18 avenged one of his two losses when he stopped Eric Ricker by TKO in the fourth round of their scheduled six-rounder in Royal Oak, Mich.
“The first time against Ricker, I had pneumonia and bronchitis,” Gonzalez said. “We went all four rounds but I still believe in my heart that I won the fight.
“The second time around was a different story. I was healthy, went after him at the outset and was able to get to him at the start of the fourth round.”
What he expects to see from Fernandez is someone who will keep the pressure on.
“Fernandez is an aggressive, non-stop puncher and in top condition,” Gonzalez said. “He keeps pressure on you each and every round but I feel like I am in condition as well.
“I plan on utilizing my jab and head movement and will keep moving to the right in order to take his long distance right and slow him down.”
Based in Salt Lake City, Fernandez, nicknamed “Kid Kayo,” turned pro in 1997 and in those early days his good friend, Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz was a big inspiration.
“Not only was Karl a big supporter and friend, but he helped me out financially as well and I am very thankful for his friendship,” Fernandez said.
The eight-bout card by Lights Out Promotions and promoted by James Infante, also will feature another light welterweight clash between Youngstown’s Jake Giuriceo and Rod Salka of California, Pa.
Tickets are available by calling Mike Cefalde (330-787-4228) or Tom Kordell (330-717-4201).