By Gary Mushrow [Photo Credit: Lina Baker]
HBO Boxing will do the true fight fans a real service Saturday night. For one weekend only, the scramble for a streaming provider or link on social media will stop. This is undoubtedly just a stone, thrown into an action packed, entertaining and fun filled lighter weight category – but we’ll lap-up the effort made here just the same.
No this isn’t a play by one of boxing’s leading promoters; forcing a fighter down our throats and standing to observe we’ve all finished our prescribed dose of fan building. This isn’t an attempt to engage us all in an Olympian who probably doesn’t harness the skills to make it in the pro ranks. Shall we go further? Probably not, you already get the picture.
Highly skilled unbeaten pound-for-pound boxing star, Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez (42-0, 36KO’s) will grace your HBO Boxing telecast this Saturday evening, on the under card of one of boxing’s most prolific knockout artists – Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin. All you have to do? Just make sure you’re watching. You won’t want to miss this.
At 5 foot 3 inches tall and weighing a staggering 112 pounds, you’d be forgiven for asking this guy to get out of your seat at your local bar, and asking him to think twice before looking at your attractive lady friend in that way again. With 36 knockouts to his name – you’d be making a very big mistake. Right now would be a great time to start ducking from that left hook, left uppe……..sorry we tried to warn you, hold on, we’ll get you some ice.
Hailing from the fighting country of Nicaragua, ‘Chocolatito’ carries the honor of the great champions which have preceded him; Alexis Argüello, Rosendo Alvarez and even the debatable Ricardo Mayorga, have all been drawn to the ring from the Central American territory.
The past seven years have saw Gonzalez mince through the 105 and 108lb divisions with all the authority of a run away locomotive carrying hazardous material. Now at 112lbs, Gonzalez faces former 108lb champion Edgar Sosa (51-8, 30KO’s) this weekend.
So where did this guy come from? Why isn’t Gonzalez a household name, on television advertisements and your evening news twice a week?
Well here it comes, the age old ideology, “the little men just don’t hit hard enough, there are never any knockouts and it’s not that exciting.” WRONG, WRONG and HELL – WRONG.
The thunderous destruction of Yutaka Niida in September 2008, saw Gonzalez win himself his first world title down at 105lbs. In a fight in which both fighters shipped some shots in an exciting four round contest, the Nicaraguan’s precise left hand and combination punches, had Niida’s eye closed over and unable to see, causing the ring physician to stop the fight.
An impressive lobsided defeated of then two-time world champion Katsunari Takayama, a majority decision over Francisco Rosas at 105, followed by a fourth round knockout victory over the same man at 108lbs with a huge left upper cut, had Gonzalez pick up his second world title, in a second weight class. So you said these little guys can’t punch, right? [psyche].
Nearly three years ago brought the fourth round knockout of former two time champion Ramon Garcia and some recognition stateside with a headlining appearance on a Top Rank broadcast on Azteca USA, earning him deserved plaudits from the onlooking main stream boxing fraternity.
The convincing 2012 points defeat of Juan Francisco Estrada, continues to look better on the resume of ‘Chocolatito’, as the Mexican has gone on to win dual world titles at flyweight and could set up a rematch at 112lbs later this year. The same can be said of another foe, Francisco Rodriguez Jr, who has gone on to pick up dual world titles since their clash eighteen months ago, in the 105lb division.
A tough victory over two-time world champion Akira Yaegashi to capture the Lineal (TBRB) and WBC world flyweight title, only adds to the magical resume of Gonzalez, who continues to grow as a fighter and obscure fan favorite at the age of 27.
Three world titles, three weight divisions, a list of fights which would undoubtedly light the touch paper on any pound-for-pound status and a cemented legacy as one of the greatest fighters from his home country already.
Make sure you tune in Saturday, don’t dare skip to the refrigerator, this isn’t a a little guy you can miss.
Step forward ‘Chocolatito’ – it’s your time to shine again on the biggest stage. Thank you K2 and HBO, you’ve probably just made our weekend.