Long before anyone decides to point the accusatory finger towards HBO or any other network, let us not forget the state of boxing as it exists today.
While the incessant longing for the great American heavyweight has been somewhat satiated by the emergence of Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder, it has long been the case that the weight divisions which are present miles upon miles to the south of two hundred pounds are not just overlooked, but seemingly forgotten. For those of us who were not fortunate enough to have been present at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, California this past Saturday evening, the rest of us were treated to a brief snippet on HBO about the undefeated flyweight champion from Nicaragua, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (43-0, 37 KO’s).
Immediately, the slight stick of pugilistic dynamite from Managua came across as an amiable and humble fellow. Likewise, we learned the origin of his nickname. Most boxing fans the world over would be happy beyond measure if we’d had the chance to speak to the late, great multi division champion known as “El Flaco Explosivo”, Alexis Arguello. Roman revealed to a tuned in American audience that it was in fact Arguello who bestowed the young man with his nickname.
Through no fault of his own, Gonzalez has been much of an unknown to all but perhaps the most ardent followers of the sport. He’s been Japan’s best kept secret due to his promotional company being based in the land of the Rising Sun.
On Saturday night’s card at the Forum, Roman was last to top the bill before Gennady “GGG” Golovkin defeated slick fighter Willie Monroe, Jr. in six rounds. In just about any assessment, Los Angeles was perhaps the best locale to showcase Gonzalez on a primetime national stage. They know their boxing in a town where such classics as Zamora vs Zarate were staged in the same historic arena, the Forum.
Saturday evening, “Chocolatito” summarily picked apart the normally game and tough fighter from Mexico City, Edgar Sosa. The man who upstaged Giovani Segura less than two years ago for the WBC Silver Flyweight title was hit over and over again with almost surgical precision by Roman, who prevailed via second round TKO. Later on that night, as updates scrolled across the bottom of the screens of various American sporting networks, when it came time for boxing updates to be given, all we saw was news of Golovkin’s victory over Monroe, Jr. This was the case from the three letter network all the way to the “Worldwide Leader” in sports.
Sadly, Roman Gonzalez, for all his incomparable talent may remain in action upon Japanese or his native Nicaraguan soil, which are two locations where we can just about feel guaranteed that no cable network will tread. It’s a travesty that the man is more a sensation of YouTube or tape delay on a fringe network. Much like what the Klitschko brothers may have experienced, it’s beyond their relative control that there aren’t many viable challengers in their respective division. Yet the networks are far past content to shove the methodical (yet effective) Ukrainian champion into our faces a few times a year, fight after fight.
As of today, the indispensable tool that is BoxRec does not have the unbeaten flyweight king Gonzalez in their top 25 “pound for pound” list. Nevertheless, we’ve seen him and so now we have the 27 year old from Managua to track as each fight draws nearer.
Furthermore, perhaps now he could use some sort of popularity and/or clout to draw us closer to the truth surrounding the mysterious death of Alexis Arguello. Upon his return to Nicaragua after his fighting career, Arguello had an off and on type of relationship with both sides of the coin in the country’s torrid world of politics. Not long after he was eventually elected mayor of Managua in 2008, he was found dead on July 1, 2009 of an alleged self-inflicted gunshot wound. Not many care to believe that the always cheerful Arguello would ever take his own life. That question remains unanswered as well as unresolved to this day.
If it takes looking at that mystery to aid in allowing us to see more of “Chocolatito” then so be it…