ESPN’s famed boxing series “Friday Night Fights” will have a special Thursday night edition this week and opening up the telecast is Cleveland’s own Miguel “Silky Smooth” Gonzalez.
The telecast, being broadcast from the Omega Products Outdoor Event Center in Corona, Ca. gets underway at 10 PM ET on ESPN2.
Nicknamed “Silky Smooth” for his southpaw slick style, Gonzalez (20-3, 15 KO’s) hasn’t fought in nearly 15 months, easily the longest layoff of his professional career. His last fight is one that he would like to forget. Taking the fight on short notice and feeling under the weather, Gonzalez complicated matters when he injured his hand early in the fight. His opponent, Mike Dallas, took advantage and won a lopsided 10 round decision. That fight, like this one, was also televised on ESPN2 and ended a 14 fight win streak.
Gonzalez has taken his time since that defeat to make sure his life and health were back in proper order.
“I had to take care of some personal things, and had to take time to let my left hand heal. I had some legal troubles and I was proven innocent. I’m putting all that behind me,” Gonzalez explained.
There will also be a new voice in his corner for this fight. Famed Cincinnati trainer Mike Stafford (best known as Adrian Broner’s trainer) will be the chief second. This will be the first fight the two have worked together since Gonzalez turned professional in 2008, but not the first overall.
“Me and Mike have built a great relationship. He worked with me some while I was an amateur. When I won the U.S. National Championship’s in 2008, Mike was in my corner,” stated Gonzalez.
Usually training in Cleveland for his fights, Gonzalez trained exclusively in Cincinnati this go round.
“I couldn’t get the right kind of work in Cleveland,” explained Gonzalez. “Things just weren’t working out there. This training camp went well and was better for me. I’m comfortable down here. I will be training in Cincinnati from here on out.”
Sparring partners were in abundance as well.
“I was sparring with seven, eight, nine guys to get different looks,” Gonzalez said.
This fight will also be at a new weight class. Having fought the majority of his career as a Super Lightweight (140 pounds), Gonzalez will drop down to the Lightweight division. A division that Gonzalez says will suit him better.
“I’ve tried to explain to everyone that I needed to fight at 135 (pounds). This is where I need to be. I walk around at about 142. For my last fight I walked to the scale eating trail mix and drinking Fiji water. I had a big meal afterwards. I woke up the next morning and only put on like 3 pounds,” explained Gonzalez.
As far as his opponent on Thursday night, Gonzalez will need to be in tip top shape. Miguel Acosta (29-6-2, 23 KO’s) is the former WBA Lightweight World Champion.
Although Acosta has lost three of his last four contests, the record of his opposition in those losses was a combined 56-2-4! The names of his opponents? Top 10 Super Lightweight Brandon Rios, WBA Lightweight World Champion Richard Abril, and Art Hovhannisyan.
This will not be a walk in the park and Gonzalez knows it.
“He’s a former World Champion. I saw him against (Brandon) Rios and I thought he gave him a great fight. He was actually up early before Rios started breaking him down,” said Gonzalez.
Regardless of the opponent, Gonzalez wants it to be known that he is ready to get back to work and achieve his goal of becoming world champion.
“I have all the talent in the world and I’m good to go. I’m ready to get it on. I’m excited to be back on TV!”
Want to watch Cleveland’s “Silky Smooth” Gonzalez in action but don’t want to watch alone? There will be a watch party at Castle Night Club on Ridge Road.