MANILA, Philippines – Mark Anthony Barriga started strong, but wilted in the homestretch, allowing Puerto Rican Jonathan Gonzalez to retain the World Boxing Organization junior flyweight belt at the Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Florida on Friday, June 24 (Saturday, June 25, Philippine time).
Sensing he was lagging on the scorecards, Barriga poured it on in the 10th and 11th rounds, throwing more power punches that failed to land most of the time.
The effort took its toll as Gonzalez dictated the fight in the 12th and final round to earn the nod of the judges, 115-113, and 117-111, twice.
Gonzalez, who sustained a swollen right eye and a cut atop the left cheekbone, raised his record to 26-3-1 with 14 knockouts, while Barriga fell to 11-2 with 2 knockouts.
To his credit, Barriga got the upper hand in the first six rounds with his combinations.
Gonzalez gained control in the seventh round, however, often putting Barriga on the defensive at the ropes.
The Puerto Rican kept his distance and dictated the pace in the eighth round before landing his combinations in the ninth.
It was Barriga’s second failed bid for a world title after falling short against Carlos Locina in their battle for the vacant International Boxing Federation crown in 2018.