How Many Wars Does Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez Have Left In Him?
By: Sean Crose
Chocolatito looks to be returning. The WBC has ordered former junior bantamweight champ Roman Gonzalez to face Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, the man who beat him this past March, in a rematch for the title strap. Gonzalez-Sor Rungvisai was a fight of the year candidate that showed both men going for broke before a thrilled Madison Square Garden crowd. Many, if not most, felt that Gonzalez did enough to win the fight, but the judges gave the nod to the challenger. Up until that time, the Nicaraguan icon was regarded as the pound for pound best fighter in the world. Controversial or not, the decision loss to Sor Rungvisai dented Gonzalez’ reputation.
The WBC unquestionably made fans happy by ordering this rematch, though. Even if Gonzalez had pulled off the victory the first time, a rematch certainly wouldn’t be something to shake your head at. Yet it’s worth wondering at this point how many wars Gonzalez has left in him. The first bout with Rungvisai, who people inexplicably under-rated walking in, was nothing if not a grueling affair. Furthermore, Gonzalez’ previous bout, against the undefeated Carlos Cuadras, was no walk in the park, either. Boxing is a tough sport. After a point, it starts taking its toll.
Still, this has the potential to be the crowning moment in Gonzalez’ spectacular career. Being the first Nicaraguan to win major titles in four, that’s four, weight classes may have been a big deal – the great Alexis Arguello was unable to pull off such a feat, after all – but overcoming his only loss against a truly game opponent might act as the cherry on the sundae. Not that Rungvisai would have any intention of simply giving his belt back to the man he won it from. The Thai slugger is tough as nails, has an incredible heart and, yes, was able to drop Gonzalez the first time around.
Rungvisai was originally supposed to face Cuadras – the man he lost the junior bantamweight title to before winning it back by besting Gonzalez (who had won it himself by besting Cuadras). The WBC has also arranged, however, for Cuadras to face Juan Francisco Estrada, with the intention of the having the winner of that bout face the winner of Gonzalez-Rungvisai II. Give the WBC this – it has a plan for itself. And it’s one the fans, and certainly Gonzalez, can approve of.