Already acknowledged by ESPN and Ring magazine as the most complete fighter pound for pound active on the planet today, there is a growing possibility that, within two years, Nicaragua’s Roman Gonzalez will have cemented his legacy as statistically the greatest fighter that ever lived.
This Saturday the little master from Managua again goes head to head with leading P4P rival Gennady Golovkin, as the future Hall of Famers defend their respective world titles at the Inglewood Forum, California. BoxNation screen live in the UK.
The three weight world champion they call ‘Chocolalito’ has already racked up 44 straight wins and, provided he sustains his current schedule of fighting three to four times a year and continues to triumph, expect him to eclipse the hallowed 49-0 slates of both Rocky Marciano and Floyd Mayweather before 2017 is done.
And unlike Argentina’s Cesar Rene Cuenca - the feather-fisted southpaw who made it to 48-0 and the IBF light-welter title only to spew in his maiden defence against Russian beast Eduard Troyanovsky – our little Roman soldier would be a worthy successor to the mantle.
In addition to netting global titles in the three lightest categories – 105lb minimum, 108lb light-fly (both WBA) and 112lb flyweight (WBC) – the Latin atom has triumphed in 13 successive world championship scraps (nine quick finishes), stopping six of the eight rival world titlists he’s confronted en route. And let’s not forget, he was a staggering 88-0 as an amateur!
A committed Christian and devoted father of two, many would rejoice if he could knock the brash and often obnoxious ‘Money’ man off his self-anointed TBE perch.
But what is the probability of that materialising?
Much is dependent upon what ‘Chocolalito’s’ future career goals are. Only 28, and still daisy fresh after a chain of performances that increasingly resemble mere exhibitions of his lavish talent rather than competitive prizefights, the wear and tear on his compact 5ft 3in, eight stone frame is nominal.
And while Gonzalez has long been deified in his homeland, and widely lauded in Japan and Mexico where he conducted much of his early championship career, he is just starting to gain acceptance in Europe and the US. Still to crack the seven figure pay bracket, lack of motivation is unlikely to be an issue. Ditto complacency.
If 50 straight serves as his Holy Grail, the diminutive destroyer would be a strong fancy to locate half a dozen ill-equipped challengers from the bowels of the WBC rankings to feast upon and ascend to the throne.
(Mind, he’d do well not to look beyond Saturday’s opponent, McWilliams Arroyo, a one-time quality amateur from Puerto Rico who is yet to be stopped in 18 gigs (two losses) with 14 victims falling before the scheduled finish).
But Gonzalez appears to possess the psyche of a genuine ring gladiator and talks only of unifying at 112lbs before heading three pounds north in search of a fourth world title and hegemony in the super-flyweight division.
His two most recent outings, breathtaking demolitions of very able ex world titlists Edgar Sosa (rsc2) and Brian Viloria (rsc9) profited from invaluable exposure on the powerful HBO channel in the US and brought rave reviews.
Nevertheless if he’s to continue to appease the big paying network, he’ll need to gamble. Thankfully there’s no shortage of unheralded but seriously dangerous competition floating about the planet between 108-115lbs.
A return with ultra violent WBA and WBO counterpart Juan Estrada – whom ‘Chocolalito’ previously schooled down at light-fly when the Mexican was but a pup – would heighten both profile and coffers, while a unifier with Thailand’s colourful IBF boss Amnat Ruenroeng – conqueror of Chinese darling Zou Shiming – is equally titillating.
Of the present light-fly emperors, Filipino WBO boss Donnie Nietes – unbeaten for almost 12 years – could provide a genuine quarrel but the real tests entail Gonzalez conceding natural size and ‘twisting’ up on the 115lb playground.
Superfights with Mexico’s Carlos Cuadras (undefeated in 35), monster punching Jap Naoya Inoue or even Frank Warren’s spidery South African Zolani Tete could, in time, have PPV potential.....plus plenty of scope for disaster!
Clocking up the coveted half century is certainly no straight forward stroll.