After a strong amateur career that saw him claim multiple titles, middleweight prospect Alfonso “Big Smooth” Gonzales turned pro last year and has quickly established himself as a top up-and-comer in the Northwest.
As Gonzales recently told MMAWeekly.com, the decision to turn pro last year came because there was nothing left for him to prove as an amateur.
“I had a few title fights that I was able to win, but the pool for 185-pound fighters was running slim, and there were a few middleweights at pro that I felt I could keep up with, so we went for it,” he said.
“I didn’t feel like there was anything left to prove at amateur, and we’ve made the jump and so far it’s gone well.”
Gone well it has, as Gonzales has picked up five wins in his first five fights, all finishes.
“Last year I fought four times and finished all of them,” said Gonzales. “I took a little bit of time off due to injury then nothing seemed to be clicking with fights falling through, but we were able to find a fight up in Canada a few weeks ago and get a 52-second knockout win.
“I feel like I’ve been performing well. There’s always stuff to grow and things I’d like to work on, but for the most part, I’ve been showing some ground game and some striking and have been performing well.”
Having spent a couple years in the amateur ranks definitely helped prepare Gonzales for the jump to the pros and it’s a route he would advise anyone interested in fighting to take.
“Yeah, definitely, the skill level of fighters today is definitely up there, so to be able to fight in the amateurs and develop your skillset allows you take it a little more serious and not just be a weekend warrior,” he said.
Gonzales (5-0) will face his toughest test to date when he makes his return to CageSport this Saturday night in Tacoma, Wash., against veteran Jared Torgeson (10-9) in a feature 185-pound bout.
“Jared’s a tough guy and a veteran of a lot of fights, so I’ve just got to go out and fight my fight and impose my will,” said Gonzales. “Conditioning is a big thing for me, so I’ve got to apply constant pressure, beat him to the punch, and if it goes to the ground I’ve got to come out on top of scrambles.”
For Gonzales, the fight with Torgeson will help him establish just where he is as a fighter and how far he’s got to go in the coming year to take the next step in his career.
“To continue to move forward and fight those more experience level fighters, I think this is a good step and I’m looking forward to it,” said Gonzales.
“I’m trying not to pass on any fights that make sense. I want to fight more experienced fighters to test myself and eventually be in their position and be the veteran fighter in those wars, fighting for those titles.”