If Tramaine Williams wanted to make a statement to the featherweight division, he sure made one Saturday night at the expense of William Gonzalez.
Williams dropped Gonzalez three times en route to a first round knockout victory at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California.
With the win, Williams improves to 12-0 1 NC, with 5 knockouts. The hard-hitting Gonzalez drops to 30-8, with 26 KOs.
The southpaw Williams, who hails from New Have, Connecticut, was coming off a second round knockout victory over former fringe contender and gatekeeper Christopher Martin on June 17.
The 24-year-old Williams, who is signed to Roc Nation, was promoted by Top Rank since his pro debut, but was released from his contract when he pled guilty to charges of possession of an assault weapon and narcotics in 2014.
The 36-year-old Gonzalez, who hails from Managua, Nicaragua, was considered a major step up in opposition for Williams. Gonzalez is a former world bantamweight title challenger.
Williams dropped Gonzalez with a right-left combination to the head about a minute into the opening round. Gonzalez beat the count, but was dropped again against the ropes with another combination to the head.
Gonzalez stood up a second time and tried to fight back, but another right-left to the chin dropped him flat onto his back. Referee Raul Caiz, Jr. immediately stopped the bout at 1:34.
"I prepared well for this fight and anything can happen when I work hard," said Williams after the fight. "I felt his power early with a body shot, but I stayed focused."
"I can deal with anybody in my division. I want to fight (IBF featherweight titleholder) Lee Selby, or any of the world champions, but none will fight me. I really want (WBC featherweight titleholder) Gary Russell Jr. It'll be target practice for me."
In the co-feature, super middleweight Junior Younan won a hard-fought eight round unanimous decision over Mike Guy.
Younan goes to 13-0, with 7 KOs. Guy, from Sacramento, falls to 9-3-1, with 5 KOs.
The former amateur standout from Brooklyn, N.Y. had mostly dominated his opposition until Saturday night as Guy came to fight.
Younan was effective during the first part of the fight, utilizing lateral movement and effective countering Guy to the head. Guy began to walk Younan down during the middle rounds, forcing him back against the ropes or on his back foot.
Guy was deducted a point from referee Wayne Hedgpeth for throwing Younan down to the canvas during a clench in round six.
It was all Guy during the final two rounds, ripping hooks and crosses to Younan's head and body. Younan dropped twice to the canvas, but Hedgpeth ruled both as slips, although television replays did show punches landing on Younan.
Scores were 76-75, 76-75, and 78-73 for Younan, who will turn 22 on Oct. 14.
In the opening bout of the CBS Sports Network telecast, heavyweight Jonathan Rice, who played collegiate basketball at Winthrop University, won a six round unanimous decision over Rodney Hernandez (10-6-2, with 2 KOs).
Scores were 59-55, 59-55, and 58-56 for Rice, who improves to 7-2-1, with 4 KOs.
Francisco A. Salazar has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, RingTV, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing