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Gonzales and Tate Win Easily at Bakersfield

Times Staff Writer

Today, Bakersfield. Tomorrow, London. Or maybe Bakersfield again.

Paul Gonzales’ itinerary is a little confused right now. The Olympic champion boxer from East Los Angeles boxed and slugged his way to an easy 10-round decision over Javier Barajas of Tucson Thursday night at Civic Auditorium, picking up a $15,000 payday in his fourth professional bout.

Afterward, Al Stankie, Gonzales’ trainer-stepfather, said his flyweight (or bantamweight, as was the case Thursday night), may sign for a bout in London with European flyweight champion Charlie Magri. That failing, Gonzales might return to Bakersfield for a rematch with Alonzo Strongbow, the tough little slugger from whom Gonzales extracted the North American Boxing Federation flyweight title last February.

Another former U.S. Olympian was on display here Thursday night. It wasn’t possible to miss him. John Tate, at 274 pounds, made his first appearance in 2 1/2 years and TK0’d an ex-Nevada Las Vegas football player named Steve Eisenbarth, 233, in the first round.

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Tate, who decked Eisenbarth twice in the wild round, left the ring on legs wobbling from fatigue. He barely had enough strength to smile.

Gonzales and Barajas, by comparison, engaged in some serious boxing and had the crowd of about 2,500 captivated throughout.

Both fighters came in at 116 1/2, the heaviest weight for Gonzales yet in his four-bout career.

It was the same program, however. Gonzales and Stankie are advocates of the “matador” theory of offensive boxing--when the left jab is working to perfection and working often, everything else falls into place.

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And everything was working for the tall, long-armed Gonzales. He jabbed and moved beautifully, and connected often enough with left hooks and straight right hands to earn a 100-90 decision on all three cards.

Four times--in the second, fourth, ninth and 10th--Gonzales went all out for the knockout, but Barajas, though tagged repeatedly, wouldn’t go down.

Barajas, said to be the flyweight champion of both Arizona and New Mexico, is 24-8-4.

Gonzales, who weighed 111 1/2 when he beat Strongbow, was angry and frustrated at his inability to put away Barajas.

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“It was my worst performance,” he said, shortly after having his hand raised.

He outclassed a more experienced opponent from Round One on. Barajas, for all his charges at Gonzales, is a skilled defensive boxer who covers up exceptionally well. However, Gonzales rang his bell so often that Barajas’ face was tomato-red by the fourth round.

The most effective combination was your basic 1-2, a long, jolting left jab followed by a short, stinging right. Several times, Gonzales scored with consecutive 1-2’s.

By the second round, Barajas had to know it would be a long night. He couldn’t reach Gonzales with his jab, and his inside punches for the most part hit Gonzales’ gloves. However, he did catch the gold medalist with enough wild shots to the side of the head to keep everyone interested.

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