Alejandro Gonzalez Jr. follows father's footsteps, despite his objections

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Alejandro Gonzalez Jr. isn’t the first “Cobrita.” That honor goes to his father.

Alejandro Gonzalez Jr. and Carl Frampton

Alejandro Gonzalez Jr. catches Carl Frampton with a shot during their July fight in El Paso, Texas. (Lucas Noonan/Premier Boxing Champions)

The elder Alejandro Gonzalez began his professional career at 108 pounds in 1988, when he was 14 years old, and ended it 15 years later fighting at 135. In January 1995, at the age of 21, he reached the pinnacle of the sport when he stopped unbeaten Kevin Kelley in 10 rounds to earn a 126-pound world title.

That win came two years after Alejandro Gonzalez Jr. was born. It was a good year for Gonzalez Sr. He fought five times in 1993, and won them all. Four came by knockout. He had a new son. The future promised great things.

But Gonzalez Sr. didn’t want the future to intersect his namesake with his profession. When his son was ready to follow his path into the ring, the former world champion balked.

“He told me this sport is too hard,” Gonzalez Jr. said. “There’s so much discipline you have to put in. A lot of things that happen to boxers, we suffer. It’s hard for my dad. He didn’t want me to be a boxer. Not only because of that, but once you go in the ring you never know how you’re going to come out or if you’re going to come out. You’re risking your life every time you go in the ring.

“I think that’s why my dad was against it, but he had no choice. I decided to be a boxer. Like a dad, like a professional boxer, he knew he was the only one who could teach me with all his experience. Thanks to his support, his experience, I know a lot of things.”

Gonzalez Jr. decided in 2009 that he was going to commit to the ring. He was 16 years old and put in just one year as an amateur. He turned pro just days after his 17th birthday. Four years later, in April 2014, he had progressed enough to be facing former 115-pound champion Juan Alberto Rosas, who handed the young "Cobrita” his first loss.

Much like his father, Gonzalez Jr. (25-2-2, 15 KOs) has faced significant tests early in his career, most recently in July, when he lost to 122-pound champion Carl Frampton in El Paso, Texas, in his first title fight.

He'll attempt to rebound from that defeat Tuesday night, when he faces former European champion Karim Guerfi (22-3, 6 KOs) in Austin, Texas, in a 10-round bout headlining a Premier Boxing Champions card on Fox Sports 1 (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).

“I feel like I have more experience than many of the people who have more years,” Gonzalez Jr. said. “Because of the experience my dad gives to me.”

There are some fighters who are slick and don’t have to get hit. There are some who have weak chins and can’t get hit. Then there are those who eat punches like candy and are perfectly happy to wade through hell to get to you. These men are terrifying, and should be treated with some combination of suspicion and respect from the general public.

Gonzalez Jr. is one of the latter, but lucky for him, his father is there to keep those instincts in check and help mold his son into a fighter that has a long, successful career.

“I like to receive punches,” Gonzalez Jr. said. “I like to fight. I really, really love it. When I’m in the ring, I don’t know, I feel strange. I like getting hit; I like hitting people. I want to go toe-to-toe, but my dad tells me not to be dumb.”

For complete coverage of Gonzalez vs Guerfi, make sure to check out our fight page.

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