Jhonny Gonzalez (56-8) successfully defended his WBC featherweight title by unanimous technical decision over Clive Atwell (12-1-1) on Saturday night in Acapulco, Mexico, but he left the bout with a few bumps and bruises.
A cut over his left eye from an accidental head-butt forced officials to stop the bout and go to the scorecards, per Jake Donovan of Boxing Scene.
The final scorecards were 99-89, 96-92 and 98-90, per Salvador Rodriguez of ESPNDeportes.com, all in favor of the champion.
Utilizing a sharp jab and scoring straight right hands, Gonzalez kept the athletic, but overmatched Atwell at bay most of the fight.
A clash of heads opened the gash midway through the fight, but the rigors of the bout worsened it and led to the stoppage.
Because it wasn't caused by an Atwell punch, the scorecards determined the victor.
Originally, the 32-year-old champion was supposed to rematch Abner Mares, whom he knocked out in the first round back in Aug. 2013. However, Mares suffered a rib injury that left Gonzalez without an opponent.
Atwell was never expected to give the champion much of a test. However, considering his lack of experience and the fact that this was his first bout outside of his native Guyana, he did pretty well to go the distance.
Gonzalez had stopped 74.6 percent of the opponents he'd faced coming into the fight, per BoxRec.com, and he proved he still has one-punch KO power against Mares.
Atwell survived and gave Gonzalez a good workout, if nothing else.
There is talk that Gonzalez could face Jorge Arce in the fall, per Donovan. But that could depend on how much damage was done to the eye.
Donovan believes Gonzalez's win over Atwell only helps to establish a battle with Arce. He wrote:
"A win by Gonzalez on Saturday gives his handlers additional leverage to pursue a showdown with Arce, which would be a massive event anywhere in Mexico."
If the laceration Gonzalez suffered against Atwell requires extended time to heal, Gonzalez's next defense may have to be pushed back a month or two.
For now, he continues his reign as WBC champion.
Follow me. I'm passionate about boxing.