- THIS was the second meeting between the pair. Their first fight, in March 1993, was dubbed ‘La Explosion’ and lived up to its name as IBF light-flyweight Michael Carbajal claimed Humberto ‘Chiquita’ Gonzalez’s WBC strap with a seventh round stoppage – a left hook with one second remaining in the round when trailing on all three scorecards.
- BOTH Julio Cesar Chavez and Terry Norris had suffered recent upset defeats and many observers were confident that Carbajal, a 3/1 favourite, would not suffer the same fate in front of the 15,102 crowd at the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles. At 30-0 (18), Phoenix’s Carbajal was looking as good as ever, especially when walking through Domingo Sosa in his last defence.
- MEXICO’S ‘Chiquita’ Gonzalez, 36-2 (26), was considered to be one of the division’s hardest punchers, as he proved in the first fight between the pair when he floored his rival in both the second and fifth rounds before succumbing in the seventh. That fight was named The Ring’s Fight of the Year.
- IN his preview for Boxing News, Sanjeev Shetty said: “Don’t be surprised if the champion has a few difficult moments along the way, but do expect the fight to be over towards the middle rounds, with Gonzalez stopped for a third and perhaps final time.”
- GONZALEZ went from ‘Rocky Marciano to Willie Pep’ by switching between southpaw and orthodox to outbox the champion and take his titles. Over the first three rounds, Gonzalez was bobbing and weaving, left and right, with Carbajal constantly missing the target. Gonzalez received a nasty cut along his left eye which required the doctor’s attention in the fourth but still closed the round with a number of good flurries.
- THIS pattern continued over the next two rounds, with the challenger darting all over the ring, not allowing Carbajal to get his punches off until a hard left-right from the champion sent the blood flying from Gonzalez’s face all over the canvas at the bell to end the sixth.
- THE Mexican’s face was a bloody mask by the seventh as the champion drove him back with a double right lead and he almost ended it in the eighth by catching Gonzalez as he tried to switch stances near the ropes. Gonzalez fought back well by standing toe-to-toe and trading body shots with the champion.
- THE challenger went back to boxing well in the ninth and further confused the champion by darting in and out with four and five punch combinations, even managing to rock the champion at the bell to end the 11th.
- CARBAJAL saved his two best punches of the battle for the final round but he seemed to know he had lost the war when both men threw up their arms at the final bell. Judges Henry Elesperu and Ray Solis scored the bout 117-113 and 115-113 respectively for Gonzalez, while Mike Munoz had Carbajal winning by a score of 115-114.
- THE two men met for a third time in November of the same year, where Gonzalez again took the victory, this time walking away with a majority decision over 12 rounds. The pair were both elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2006.
A reinvented Humberto Gonzalez was desperate to spoil the party, writes Sam Corbishley