Posts Tagged ‘Chocolatito’

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The king is dead and the vultures are out to pick at the corpse of former Pound 4 Pound #1 Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez.

Last night, Gonzalez suffered his second defeat and first KO loss at the hands of bruiser Sor Rungvisai. Unlike their Fight of the Year contender in March, this was not competitive. Rungvisai’s hooks to the body physically knocked Chocolatito across the ring. The former champion’s energy seemed to wilt with every exchange. His famed pressure and combination punching were absent as Rungvisai’s power kept him hesitant and fearful. And inside of four rounds, two monstrous right hooks put down Gonzalez twice for the emphatic stoppage and possible end to his career as an elite fighter.

Within seconds of the fight being waved off, the less informed of the boxing masses began their synopsis of Gonzalez’s career. “Hypejob” and “overrated” were thrown around a lot, and even those who knew better, like former HBO executive and veteran promoter Lou DiBella, got in on the hot takes.

 

So what does this say about our sport when possibly the best smaller weight fighter of the last decade gets dismissed with such callous disregard? It says that boxing community, particularly those in the United States, have a profound ignorance of fighters not spoon fed to them on the cable networks. HBO got on the Chocolatito bandwagon late in 2015, and frankly only did so after the mass exodus of its potential stars at the hands of the PBC. But well before then, Gonzalez had already laid down at Hall of Fame resume.

Before his HBO debut against Edgar Sosa, Gonzalez had already won titles in three weight classes (lineal at 112) and compiled a record 41-0 (10-0 in world title fights). Included in that record are elite former and current world titlists like Juan Francisco Estrada, Akira Yargaeshi, Katsunair Takayama, Ramon Garcia, Yutaka Niida and Francisco Rodriguez Jr. And while these names might not jump out at you, their combined records at the time of facing Gonzalez was 121-12-4.

Here’s a bit more perspective on Gonzalez’s so-called overrated status compared to his Pound 4 Pound peers. Most lists have a variation of these names: Andre Ward, Terrence Crawford, Vasyl Lomachenko, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Gennady Golovkin, Canelo Alvarez, Sergey Kovalev, Mikey Garcia, Manny Pacquiao and Naoya Inoue. If you include Manny, he’s the only one along with Gonzalez that’s competed in at least four different weight classes.

When Ward moved up to 175, his first opponent was Paul Smith. Crawford is his move to 140 tested the waters against Thomas Dulorme. Pacquiao and Mayweather entered their fourth weight classes against David Diaz and Sharmba Mitchell, respectively. All these opponents pale in comparison to Carlos Cuadras, the undefeated former WBC title-holder who was Gonzalez’s first opponent at super flyweight last year. In that Fight of the Year contender which likely ended Gonzalez’s prime, he fought through two swollen eyes to continuously walk down Cuadras to earn a unanimous decision.

If you want to criticize Chocolatito for not “easing” his way into a division like some of the others just named, consider the difference in mentality. The sub-featherweight fighters, long ignored by the mainstream, don’t have the luxury of feasting for years off exhibition fights against overmatched opposition. To maximize money in their relatively short careers, they face elite competition very early. That’s why a guy like Naoya Inoue, who made his HBO debut last night, is already a lineal champion with titles in two weight classes despite having just 14 fights. It’s why Gonzalez and Estrada had a light flyweight “superfight” back in 2012 with little of the hassle we saw for years with Mayweather-Pacquiao and more recently in the Golovkin-Canelo delays (admittedly, the Gonzalez-Estrada rematch is another story).

With the great, late Alexis Arguello as his mentor, Roman Gonzalez was nurtured to be a fighter from a different cloth. Like the Explosive Thin Man, Gonzalez strived to meet the biggest challenge in each weight division. In a surreal parallel, Arguello also met his end in his fourth weight class when he opted to face the biggest threat at 140 pounds, Aaron Pryor, rather than selecting an easier title-holder.

There is no middle ground when you strive for greatness in the Sweet Science. You either ascend with a thrilling victory or get snuffed out by crushing defeat. This year, Gonzalez got his first taste of the latter. But as we lay this king to rest, let’s remember his dominance, ring brilliance, and audacity to be great that’s far too rare in the modern era. And maybe we take a little solace in hoping the sacrifices Roman Gonzalez made will keep the mainstream door open for the Little Big Men of the sport.

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GGGJacobs

*UPDATE* 3:13AM – That’s all from fight night. More news from this night of boxing will be published on Sunday.

NEW YORK CITY — Tonight, BeatsBoxingMayhem will be live from Madison Square Garden providing live updates for every fight. Check back often here and on Twitter for commentary on the entire night of boxing.

GOLOVKIN GETS CONTROVERSIAL DECISION OVER JACOBS: This one lived up to the billing of “Big Drama Show.” There was high tension throughout the 12 rounds. Was Jacobs gaining momentum? Was Golovkin one shot away from ending it? I had Jacobs surging in the championship rounds to even it up at 104 headed into the 12th round.

The 12th was a clear GGG round; I felt Golovkin’s shots had more impact. That and the earlier knockdown (also controversial), was enough to give Golovkin a narrow 114-113 win on my card.

Neither guy’s stock should drop. GGG pressed the fight and attempted to walk down a much larger man with a dangerous punch. And Jacobs utilized a sound strategy of movement and switch-hitting to confuse Golovkin. If those boos directed at Golovkin during his post-fight interview are any indication, Jacobs will finally get some respect in his  hometown.

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RUNGVISAI STUNS CHOCOLATITO: What a war. Chocolatito was dropped by a balance shot to the body in the first, cut by a butt in the third, and facing the brute strength of a natural super flyweight. Gonzalez looked to be in trouble banging with the bigger man, but his accuracy and combinations got him back in it by the middle rounds.

From in the arena, I thought the critical mistake Chocolatito made came in the late rounds. I had him getting outworked in rounds 9-11, but sealing the deal with a strong 12th to take it 114-112. Instead, the judges had it 114-112 twice for Rungvisai and 113-113.

I couldn’t cosign the booing for Rungvisai. Yes, the favorite lost, but we got a great fight from both men. One thing that can’t be questioned is that Chocolatito is completely maxed out at this weight. This is around the age smaller fighters start to decline, so K2 needs to maximize the elite-level fights he has left, namely the Inoue and Estrada fights should Gonzalez get by Rungvisai in the rematch.

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CARLOS CUADRAS UD10 DAVID CARMONA: Carlos Cuadras’s decision win over David Carmona may have given Roman Gonzalez a blueprint for an easier rematch. The normally fleet-footed Cuadras opted for a more stationary approach that allowed him to counter with power. Unfortunately for Cuadras, he’s not used to leading, making for awkward exchanges and him lunging to initiate offense.

Cuadras never got out of first gear and it nearly cost him. In terms of excitement, the most interesting moments in the late rounds came from Carmona getting rough. He stunned Cuadras with a hard overhand right in the seventh and hurt him to the body in the eighth. Carmona also was the more active over the last two rounds. The judges saw it differently, giving Cuadras the unanimous decision with scores of97-93 twice and 96-94.

This Cuadras was a far-cry from the one we saw lump up Gonzalez last year. Maybe he underestimated Carmona. Whatever the reason, Cuadras better get it together before the inevitable Gonzalez rematch.

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RYAN MARTIN TKO8 BRYANT CRUZ: Ryan Martin improved his undefeated record with a dominant stoppage over Bryant Cruz. Martin used his size and reach advantage to keep the bout at mid-range where his size and reach allowed for repeated left hook counters and body work. Although Cruz remained scrappy, the punishment began visibly taking a toll in the fifth when he was hurt by a straight right.

The remaining action was one-way traffic with Cruz getting strafed any time he went to the ropes. It was this scenario in the eighth that put an end to the fight. Martin’s record improves to 18-0, 11 KOs.

 

UNTELEVISED UNDERCARD

ANDY LEE UD8 DE’ANDRE LEATHERWOOD: 14 months of inactivity resulted in a disappointing return for veteran Andy Lee, who won a lackluster unanimous decision over unheralded De’Andre Leatherwood. Lee spent most of the fight waiting for big counter punching opportunities that never came. While Leatherwood’s output was equally low, the career journeyman did manage to land at least one or two clean right-hand counters per round that kept Lee cautious.

The crowd began letting both men have it just two minutes into the fight. Yells of “Wake up, Andy!” and ‘C’mon, Andy!” were heard periodically throughout the night from diehard supporters.

Sensing the fight slipping away, Lee took m0re chances in rounds 6-8. Lee got the better of their sporadic exchanges via his formidable left hand, but Leatherwood was never in serious danger. Nonetheless, Lee aggression was viewed favorably by the judges, and he won the decision via scores of 80-72, 78-74, and 79-73.

 

 

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Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, recognized by many as the #1 Pound 4 Pound fighter in the world, will make his second appearance at super flyweight when he faces Srisaket Sor Rungvisai March 18 on the Golovkin-Jacobs undercard. Competing now in his fourth weight class, the talk around Gonzalez centers on when and if we’ll see him tangle with the division’s most fearsome puncher, Naoya Inoue.

But before we salivate further on that potential superfight, Gonzalez faces a serious danger to his undefeated record in Rungvisai, who’s spent the majority of his career at super flyweight and boosts an 83% knockout ratio. Below, we look at three reasons why Gonzalez must not take the Thai slugger lightly and improve on his last outing against Carlos Cuadras.

1. DURABLE AND RELENTLESS: Outside of being thrown to the wolves early on and losing his first two fights by KO (one to future champion Akira Yaegashi), Rungvisai has been one of the most durable fighters at super flyweight. As an aggressive, seek n’ destroy southpaw, he prides himself on taking his opponent’s best shots before breaking them down on the ropes with clubbing left hands.

By virtue of his amazing versatility on offense, Gonzalez is usually able to force his opponents to give ground. In Rungvisai, Gonzalez has a foe that will welcome the risk of exchanging due to the former’s chin and power. Don’t be surprised if Gonzalez is forced to create off the backfoot much like Cuadras had to in their 2014 bout.

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2. A WEIGHT CLIMB TOO HIGH: Gonzalez made history last September in becoming the first Nicaraguan fighter to win a title in his fourth weight class by defeating Cuadras via unanimous decision. It was a remarkable achievement that came with a high price — Gonzalez took heavy blows in the late rounds and had to persevere through swollen eyes to get the victory. It was the highest amount of punishment we’ve seen Gonzalez take in his career.

Unlike at lower weight classes, Gonzalez’s best punches weren’t enough to finish off Cuadras and left Chocolatito exhausted in the later rounds. The toll of going to war with a naturally larger man had Gonzalez looking weary despite facing a fighter who mostly fights off the backfoot.

With Rungvisai, the roles will be reversed in the bigger man hunting Gonzalez.

“I respect Roman Gonzalez,” says Rungvisai. “He is a legend. He has done great things for boxing, especially by showing the world how talented and exciting smaller weight fighters can be. I am happy for Nicaragua to have such a great hero. However, super flyweight is my weight. And the WBC Super Flyweight World title belt is my belt.

I will do whatever it takes to win my belt back, and I am confident I can do it. I was able to hurt Carlos Cuadras in the way that Gonzalez could not. Cuadras did not hurt me when we fought but he hurt Gonzalez throughout their fight last year. I am confident I can beat Roman Gonzalez. And the fight will not go twelve rounds.”

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3. LOOKING AHEAD AND NOT OVER THE HORIZON: At first glance, it might sound crazy to suggest that Gonzalez might have peaked or reached the end of his prime at 29 years old. But smaller fighters (flyweights and lower) usually don’t continue competing at a high level past their early 30s. The main reason for that is due to less politics and having to face elite competition early. Both of Gonzalez’s 2016 fights, against McWilliams Arroyo and Cuadras, were taxing fights that went the distance. The last time Gonzalez went the distance in back to back fights? 2009.

That brings us to our final point. Having put in work for over 10 year to amass a 46-0 record and get on HBO, Gonzalez is looking to maximize his earnings for his remaining years. He’s on record as wanting a cool $1 million to rematch Juan Francisco Estrada. There’s the Cuadras rematch in the pipeline, and of course the “Monster Fight” against Inoue. Those three names are more known and lucrative than Rungvisai’s. But if Gonzalez has not used these last six months to improve his defense and stamina, Rungvisai has the ability to hand him his first defeat.

Roman Gonzalez vs. Srisket Sor Rungvisai will air on the March 18 HBO pay-per-view undercard of Gennady Golokin vs. Danny Jacobs. The fight will be for Gonzalez’s WBC super flyweight title.

 

 

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Watch the live weigh-in stream today for Gennady Golovkin vs. Dominic Wade. Golovkin will be making the first defense of his unified WBA and IBF middleweight titles. Also covered on the stream is the co-feature of top Pound 4 Pound fighter Roman Gonzalez making the fifth defense of his WBC flyweight belt against McWilliams Arroyo.

The card airs Saturday (April 23) at 10 p.m. ET.

 

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WBC flyweight champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez will make his first pay-per-view appearance when he faces former two-division titlist Brian Viloria as the co-feature to Gennady Golovkin vs. David Lemieux on October 17 at Madison Square Garden.

Gonzalez, who made his HBO debut in May with a  second round KO over Edgar Sosa, will be making the third defense of his title.

“I know Brian Viloria is a great champion and it will be a hard fight, but I am ready for the challenge,” said Gonzalez. “I have faith that God will give me the strength to keep training and be able to give all my fans my best fight ever.”

Viloria’s last HBO appearance was a April 2013 split decision defeat to Juan Francisco Estrada. Since then, “Hawaiian Punch” has put together a four-fight win streak against lesser opposition.

“I’ve fought and won on the world’s biggest stages against the best of the best,” declared Viloria. “I’ve prepared my whole life to win at every level of competition from World Amateur titles to the Olympic Games to professional world titles. And this fight, against Roman Gonzalez, is likely to be my biggest challenge yet. But, it’s Roman’s biggest challenge too. This is the realization of my dreams and I will make the most of it on fight night.

I applaud Roman for accepting this fight, together, we will give boxing fans something special, something they can talk about for a very long time.”

Tickets for Golovkin-Lemieux will go on sale Wednesday August 12 at 12:00 p.m. ET through the Madison Square Garden Box Office and Ticketmaster outlets.

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LOS ANGELES — Flyweight star Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (43-0, 37 KOs) couldn’t have delivered a better U.S. and HBO debut in needing less than two full rounds to mow down respected veteran Edgar Sosa (51-9, 30 KOs).

Sosa attempted to fight off the backfoot but found himself quickly timed with lead hooks and straight rights to the body. Gonzalez accomplished this with precision timing and accuracy. The WBC champion also showed showed excellent defense in casually picking off most of Sosa’s attempts to counter.

In round two, Gonzalez scored his first knockdown when the fight went inside via an overhand right. Sosa beat the count and took another quick trip to the canvas after back-peddling into a left and right uppercut. The final knockdown came with Sosa trapped on the ropes and forced to his knees by nearly 30 unanswered power shots.

Potential future opponents include an anticipated rematch and unification against WBA and WBO titlist Juan Francisco Estrada, who debuted on HBO in 2013 by defeating Brian Viloria, and moving up to face super flyweight phenom and WBO champion Naoya Inoue.

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WBC flyweight champion Roman Gonzalez extended his KO streak to seven with an efficient and dominating sixth round stoppage over Rocky Fuentes earlier today in Tokyo.

Gonzalez was in cruise control and did whatever he pleased with the overmatched Fuentes. The champion’s deadly accuracy was featured anytime the two got in close quarters with Gonzalez punishing the Fuentes with sharp hooks and uppercuts. The constant bodily harm caught up to the challenger in the sixth when a right uppercut through the guard for a knockdown. Fuentes beat the count but was summarily beaten into a corner, prompting the ref to call the bout with seconds remaining in the round.

The win was Gonzalez’s first defense of the flyweight strap he won in September by defeating Akira Yaegashi (TKO9). Of Gonzalez’s last 11 fights dating back to 2012, only Juan Francisco Estrada has lasted the distance. Estrada now holds the WBA and WBO flyweight belts via 11th round TKO over Giovani Segura in September. Should he defeat Joebert Alvarez on December 6, Estrada is expected to seek revenge against Gonzalez in early 2015.