Photos: Lina Baker, Instagram @seeyouringside
Winning a championship belt in four weight classes is no easy feat. Even with the proliferation of belts and arrangements of rankings being a sore shady spot of the sport, accomplishing the feat is a monument to achievement in the sweet science and a boost to validation for hall of fame credentials.
Number one pound for pound fighter Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez has amazed the die-hard of boxing fans for years, with the new found fandom spurred by HBO finally giving attention to the lighter weight classes. Chocolatito is now becoming a commercial fan favorite with a style that compels even casual fans to turn on the TV when the titanic tiny man enters the squared circle.
Carlos Cuadras would present the stiffest challenge to Chocolatito on paper with bigger size and a boxing style that shows him switching stances and knockout power in a higher weight class. Gonzalez and Cuadras met in the center of the ring at the opening bell and did not let up for twelve entire rounds.
Cuadras’s fast accurate combinations in the early minute would be overshadowed by the 1980’s Terminator-esque relentlessness of Gonzalez. Gonzalez’s left eye swelled from a healthy dose of Cuadras jabs and hooks to add more drama to the little drama show that definitely out performed the big drama shows performance earlier in the day by GGG Gennady Golovkin.
Over twelve brutal rounds of back and forth action with swings of momentum the cards read 117-111, 116-112, and 115-113 all for Gonzalez in front of 6,714 fans at the Forum in Inglewood, CA.
Following the fight HBO’s Max Kellerman asked Gonzalez about a possible rematch or tantalizing matchup against Naoya Inoue of Japan to which he said “I need to rest right now, but I’m willing to fight anybody.”
It was a rematch of two fighters that were dipped in molten hammers at birth, Mexican Jesus SotoKarass and Japanese Yoshihiro Kamegai fought to a draw back in April in a battle of fighters that could only produce fireworks against each other given their respective come forward styles. They produced fireworks then and again tonight as they went toe to toe in a battle that was virtually only for bragging rights.
Kamegai looked the crisper of the two and appeared to have something more left in the tank considering how hellacious their first fight was. The fight started where the first bout left off with both fighters meeting in the center of the ring to trade shots and not stop.
In the eighth round Kamegai landed a left hook right hand combination that put Soto Karass down. SotoKarass would make it to his feet and the end of the round but he would never see the ninth as his corner waived the fight to save their man for another day in the future.
This fight nor their first fight will make any major waves in the sport but hey it was fun just seeing two guys who’ve always been tough as nails and have surprised us a time or two during their careers fight each other.