The World’s number one pound for pound boxer Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez finds himself deep into his training cycle as he prepares to defend his WBC World Flyweight title against McWilliams Arroyo (16-2) at the Inglewood Forum on April 23rd. The fight airs on HBO and is the support fight for Gennady Golovkin’s Middleweight clash with Dominic Wade.
For the second training camp in a row, the Nicaraguan Gonzalez has set up in Costa Rica. Prior to his last fight with Brian Viloria on October 17, Gonzalez was scheduled to train in the United States but plans changed when several sparring partners were lacking visas.
For a training camp, Gonzalez needed to leave Nicaragua, where he has quickly become a big star and a household name. Too many non-boxing distractions could spoil his training routine, so neighboring Costa Rica became the scene for the world champion’s last two fight preparations.
In Arroyo, some see Gonzalez’ toughest test to date. The Puerto Rican fighter is 16-2 overall as a professional and has a vast amateur background that gives him a wealth of experience. With fourteen knockouts on his professional ledger, he is known as a big puncher as well.
Gonzalez’ face shows no emotion on it when you talk about Arroyo. He comments “Arroyo could be my hardest fight or he could be my easiest fight.” Gonzalez is pragmatic, continuing “you never know what will happen the day of the fight.”
Gonzalez has his full team with him, including his father Luis who keeps a watchful eye over everything going on around the champion. The focus is completely on the preparation.
Gonzalez leaves the gym ready for a run in the Costa Rican hills. He smiles and opens up “The gym is great here in Costa Rica, very complete, but this run, this hill we are going to run here, up to the windmills, is my favorite part of Costa Rica. Wow, it is tough.” Gonzalez pauses and takes a deep breath, looking at the windmills atop the Santa Ana in the distance and he finishes “This hill has my respect”.
As does Arroyo. Gonzalez is of the philosophy that he respects all his opponents and that every fight is tough. When asked specifically about what he sees in his rival, Gonzalez offers “McWilliams moves very well, good footwork. He puts his combinations together very well. I respect him a lot, but I’m not sure he has faced a guy who puts combinations together the way I do. We will see who is more ready in Los Angeles.”
There is little hoopla or hype around this training camp, just hard work. Gonzalez believe that is what has gotten him this far and that is what will carry the day for him come April 23.