To find fights to broaden his young career, Kingsville boxer Oscar Gonzalez has had to travel far from home.
His young career had taken him to the Rio Grande Valley and even further to Puerto Rico. But on Saturday, he fough as close to his hometown as he probably ever will.
The 20-year-old and former H.M. King High School graduate made the most of it too. Fighting in Richard Steele's Rumble In Robstown, Gonzalez floored Octavio Santin of San Antonio only a minute and two seconds into the first round. It was an exciting start to a complete night of professional boxing in the Richard M. Borchard Central Pavilion Arena. But for Gonzalez, it was just another step forward.
"It was great fighting here," Gonzalez said. "I've never fought so close to home. Here in Robstown, I'm basically fighting at home. All my family and friends were here to watch. It's was cool."
And what they saw was Gonzalez turned what he had hoped would be a conservative and tactical first round into a slugfest. Seconds into the fight, Santin charged forward and stood in front of Gonzalez and began throwing punch after punch. Gonzalez picked his spots and once he saw an opening, he landed a solid overhand right.
"I wanted to just feel him out and see what he had in the first round, but he wanted to fight," said Gonzalez, who trains at the Kingsville Boxing Club. "We he started coming at me, I just started throwing."
Corpus Christi fighters won the fight card's top two fights. In the main event, heavyweight Ron Guerrero knocked out Dallas native Roderick Willis in the third round. Before that, middleweight Victor Lares won a majority decision over Jesse Orta of Dallas.
Still, the buzz around the ring Saturday night circled around the one young fighter who actually didn't fight. Top prospect Jerry Belmontes, a former Corpus Christi Silver Gloves and Golden Gloves champion was scheduled to fight Alie's Raul Almeida, who was making his pro debut, but the state boxing commission canceled the fight after they deemed Almeida unprepared for the fight since he had no amateur experience.
Another Corpus Christi fighter who many wanted to see was light heavyweight James Elizarde. He did fight and make quick work of Killeen's Raheem Gordon by knocking him out in the third round of the fight.