3 More Rounds

An even better Chocolatito?

Photo: Chris Farina / K2 Promotions

Photo: Chris Farina / K2 Promotions

A few weeks ago it was announced that once again the No. 1 ranked fighter in the world, Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez would play the B-side to Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin in a co-main event that will mark their fourth straight co-billing on HBO next month.

This is music to the ears of boxing fans as a special treat is served up whenever the dynamic duo glove up.  It’s akin to having Superman and Batman featured in the same movie; in a boxing sense, you get the two best fighters in the sport for the same price.  Epic.

The results of the previous three pairings of the juggernauts of the fight game have resulted in three straight stoppages recorded by ‘GGG’, and two straight TKO’s notched by Gonzalez, with the most recent outing a 12 round unanimous nod over McWilliams Arroyo in April of this year.

It’s the Arroyo fight that showed us some vulnerability in ‘Chocolatito’, as his Puerto Rican opponent found much more success than Gonzalez’s previous two stoppage wins.  In Arroyo, Gonzalez faced a willing adversary who was able to befuddle Gonzalez via left hooks and movement.  Watching live from press row, many saw the bout as competitive and much closer than the UD that was thrown up by all three ringside judges.  Most telling at ringside were the noticeable quiet moments that would silence the pro ‘Chocolatito’ whenever Arroyo found success.  The bout served as a true ‘win and look good next time’ type of affair for the top rated fighter in boxing.

A storyline going in to the Arroyo bout was the problems the Nicaraguan had in the lead up to the bout regarding weight.

Gonzalez began his career in 2005 in the flyweight division (109-112); the tiny warrior contested a few bouts at junior flyweight (99-108), and in 2007 Gonzalez went to the lowest weight class in boxing in 2007 in winning a portion of the WBA’s minimum-weight title, in which a fighter can weigh no more than 105 pounds.  Even more stunning is that the ‘Nicaraguan Ninja’ stayed at minimum-weight for several years, eventually gaining the full version of the WBA’s minimum-weight title.

Throughout the years Gonzalez was dominant in attaining titles in the smaller divisions of the sport, yet as one ages in the boxing game, weight naturally rises and the ‘man body’ comes into play in the mid 20’s.  Gonzalez hopped to light flyweight and then flyweight in 2010 until present, earning the WBA titles in each of those divisions and adding the WBC belt in 2014 with a victory over Akira Yaegashi.

In a sense, the weight game is over for Chocolatito.  The premier match-up that was discussed next for Gonzalez was a repeat dance against Juan Francisco Estrada, a rugged Mexican veteran who took Gonzalez to task over 12 rounds, with some fight scribes even penning that Estrada may have edged out Gonzalez on a cool November night in November 2011 at the now defunct Los Angeles Sports Arena.

However, that fight was contested at light flyweight, and at this point in Gonzalez’s career, the scale hasn’t been so pro- Chocolatito, who was reportedly ghostly looking and perhaps using the old ‘spit in a cup’ trick of the trade during fight week for the Arroyo match up.  Gonzalez did not elect for a rematch against Estrada, in part, and quite possibly all because of weight issues that he now has to succumb to.

On the bright side of things, the consolation for not seeing Chocolatito v. El Gallo II was Gonzalez stepping up in weight against another quality opponent in Mexico’s Carlos Cuadras.

Cuadras (35-0-1, 27KO) hails from Guamuchil, Sinaloa, Mexico and projected an aura of confidence at the kick-off press conference for the fight, which will occur at The Forum in Inglewood, California.  Cuadras donned a smile throughout his interpreted speech and brought a prop along; mid-sentence, the confident spewing Cuadras stopped and took a bottle of chocolate milk out of his breast pocket, proceeding to take a drink in a mock fashion of Gonzalez’s nickname.

“I am strong.  I am fast.  I am very, very handsome,” said Cuadras after drinking out of the Nesquik bottle.  There is strong reason for Cuadras to believe in himself against the No. 1 fighter in the world.  The 27 year old has held the title he will put up against Gonzalez since September 2012 and has made nine successful defenses of the WBC junior flyweight belt.  On fight night, the undefeated Cuadras will come in at one inch taller than Gonzalez and with a two inch reach advantage in what is anticipated to be an action fight.

Gonzalez wore a smile throughout the proceedings and seemed to be amused by his future foe’s comments and antics.

“I have confidence in God and with the support of the Nicaraguans, Mexicans and Americans, I’m honored to headline my first show at the Forum and look forward to all the fans support. It’s a blessing to be named the #1 Pound-for-Pound Fighter and its motivation to keep training hard. I’m very happy to train in Big Bear with Gennady Golovkin; the conditions up there will provide the best preparation for the fight. It means a great deal to me to win a fourth world title and I dedicate this fight to the memory of my mentor and hero Alexis Arguello.”

Although Cuadras has some advantages in height and reach, as well as holding the title, Gonzalez will be weighing in at his heaviest ever as a professional in attempts to dethrone the champion.  In a weight class of little men, warriors is a better term, little things matter and even though a few pounds does not seem like much, in the weight class of little warriors, a few pounds means a lot.

Throw in the factoid that Gonzalez will become the most decorated fighter of his country of Nicaragua and couple that with a weight-drama free fight camp; what we may end up with is the No. 1 fighter in the world looking even better come September 10 on HBO.

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