Pound-for-pound king Gonzalez gunning for statement showing on ‘GGG’ undercard
Lee Gormley | April 19, 2016
Gonzalez gunning for stand-out showing
Middleweight kingpin Gennady Golovkin will take to the The Forum in Los Angeles for a main event clash with Dominic Wade this weekend, but it’s Nicaragua’s Roman Gonzalez that will look to steal the headlines as he defends his WBC world flyweight title once again.
The 28-year-old, known as ‘El Chocolatito’, is yet to taste defeat in his outstanding career to date since debuting professionally back in 2005, and he faces dangerous former amateur world champion McWilliams Arroyo (16-2, 14 KOs) in California next.
Gonzalez (44-0, 38 KOs) emulated his idol and compatriot, Nicaraguan legend Alexis Arguello, in becoming a three-weight world champion in 2014, as he stopped Japan’s Akira Yaegashi to gain the flyweight titles and has since successfully defended them three times.
The sport’s leading pound-for-pound star is on a supreme run of 10 successive knockout victories since 2012 and will take to the ring this weekend aiming to put on a strong statement showing on American soil, where he is 2/1 with Coral to halt Arroyo in rounds 4-6.
Flyweight champion completely focused
Nicaragua’s finest Gonzalez was at his emphatic best to dispatch Mexican challenger Edgar Sosa at The Forum in May last year, halting the veteran inside two rounds to retain his 112 pounds straps, and he will look for a similarly solid outing on his return to the famous California venue in the early hours of Sunday morning.
‘El Chocolatito’ moved his training camp from native capital city of Managua to Costa Rica last month in a bid to avoid distractions getting in the way of his preparations, with the highly-driven flyweight champion expecting a tough test from Arroyo.
“This is a big opportunity for Arroyo,” stated Gonzalez. “He feels like he should already be champion from his close, split decision loss to Amnat Ruenroeng [in 2014] and I know how strong and well prepared he will be for this fight. This is a big test and very important fight for me.
“Moving camp to Costa Rica at this time makes sense, the sparring there is better and the location allows me to completely focus on the fight without any distractions.”
The undefeated world champion faces a fighter that enjoyed an illustrious amateur background, with the 30-year-old Puerto Rican having secured Gold medals at the 2006 Central American and Caribbean Games, 2007 Pan American Games and, most notably, the 2009 World Amateur Boxing Championships in Milan.
With a well crafted amateur upbringing, Arroyo is 12/1 to hand heavy favourite Gonzalez his maiden professional loss at The Forum.
P4P star hopes to emulate hero Arguello
Sitting at the top of the pound-for-pound rankings, ‘El Chocolatito’ will look to add further evidence to his position on that prestigious mantle though, by overcoming his Puerto Rican challenger at a venue that his idol Arguello relished.
The Nicaraguan legend, dubbed ‘The Explosive Thin Man’ or ‘El Flaco Explosivo’, prevailed on all four occasions he fought at The Forum, and Gonzalez is aiming to earn a second career victory in California.
“It’s very exciting to return to the Forum and also to fight once again on HBO. I’m honoured that my fans from all over can attend or watch my fights, it’s what I’ve always wanted for my career,” declared Gonzalez.
“Also fighting in the same venue where my idol Alexis Arguello was successful means a great deal to me. Arguello won all four of his fights at the Forum.”
The three-weight world champion is 7/2 to halt proceedings early and give the California crowd a KO to shout about within rounds 1-3, with the Nicaraguan holding more experience than his opponent, despite being two years his junior.
‘El Chocolatito’ was inside a professional ring within a month of turning 18 years of age, while Arroyo fought out an extended amateur career until he reached 24, and the defending champion will be confident of another superior outing.
‘El Chocolatito’ worthy Mayweather successor
In the wake of Floyd Mayweather Jr’s retirement last year, after comfortably outpointing both Manny Pacquiao and Andre Berto, Gonzalez has become the man to fill his boots as the pound-for-pound kingpin, emerging as the consensus pick among top organisations including ‘The Ring’.
His position there is hard to dispute, being an undefeated three-division world champion, and possessing arguably the most entertaining fighting arsenal in the sport, being an offensive devastator with his power and dazzling footwork.
A rematch with current WBO and WBA flyweight champion Juan Estrada has been tipped, after Gonzalez won their earlier encounter at light-flyweight and, with the Mexican excelling at 112 pounds of late, such a meeting could be the compelling clash needed for El Chocolatito to branch out his fanbase.
“I get asked a great deal about the rematch with Estrada but for now I have a very tough fight in front of me against McWilliams Arroyo on April 23rd and I’m fully focused on this,” added Gonzalez.
With relatively scant attention paid towards the lowest weight classes, especially in the United States, Gonzalez has been the one most likely of grabbing the popularity it deserves, and the little Nicaraguan genius will look to boost his stature as pound-for-pound number one further with another imposing performance this weekend.