Cool Gonzalez is determined to crash Frampton party in El Paso
IBF super-bantamweight World champion Carl Frampton will be using Saturday's American debut as an opportunity to formally announce himself to US fight fans and push on to bigger bouts with fellow belt holders.
However, Frampton's opponent, Alejandro Gonzalez jr, insists that he is not a man to be overlooked. The 22-year-old Mexican is coming to the Don Haskins Centre in El Paso, Texas, determined to spoil the party.
"I have a big chance, a great opportunity and I am going to take advantage of it," asserted Gonzalez jr.
"It's Frampton's first time coming to the United States and he wants to be a superstar. But in order to become a superstar, he must first get by me.
"I know that he's a great fighter with a lot of experience and a hard-hitting punch, but nothing that I can't handle. I'm not going to be afraid of anyone and even though this will be the biggest fight of my career, I won't be nervous."
Gonzalez jr arrives in Texas boasting an impressive 25-1-2 record. Both draws came early on in his career and he has 15 knockouts to his name.
The Tijuana man's single defeat came in 2014 to fellow Mexican Juan Alberto Rosas and this will be only his second fight outside Mexico, albeit on the country's border. He insists that the loss was a learning experience and focusing on it too hard would be a mistake.
"Ever since my lone loss to Rosas last year, I've gained a lot of experience," said Gonzalez jr. "Frampton's looking at me as the fighter who lost to Rosas, but I'm a different fighter now. I'm ready for this test."
Having signed with promotional powerhouse Al Haymon and boxing on free-to-air television both sides of the water, Frampton is eyeing money-spinning bouts with the likes of Guillermo Rigondeaux and Leo Santa Cruz.
Gonzalez jr, meanwhile, comes from solid boxing stock. His father, of the same name, enjoyed a fruitful 55-fight career that included a WBC featherweight title win over Kevin Kelley in 1995. Junior has taken that inspiration into pre-fight preparations.
"For this fight we worked differently in training than all my other camps. I've worked on my defence, my attack and counter punches. Everything has been done differently," he said.
'La Cobrita' (The Cobra) is a tall, rangy boxer with respectable punching power and a hunger to gatecrash the party at 122lbs by bagging himself a world title. He believes that the crowd will be against the travelling champion with plenty of Mexicans packing the venue to offer support.
"From what I've seen of Frampton he is a very aggressive fighter. I don't have just one plan - whatever Frampton brings we'll handle it," he added.