Roman Gonzalez – Hot Chocolatito
By: Sean Crose
“Who is Chocolatito?”
This question, which was asked to me by the head of my department at the small college where I teach and tutor, took me by surprise. Why? Because my supervisor is no big fight fan. Indeed, she’s not even a casual fight fan. She doesn’t like boxing at all, truth be told. Yet she thought to ask me who this Chocolatito guy was.
That, fight fans, is what’s known as good news. At least it’s good news if you’re Roman Gonzalez, the 45-0 flyweight sensation whose nickname is, of course, Chocolatito. For boxers don’t cross over into the mainstream much these days. And that’s particularly true of smaller fighters, who even many legitimate fight fans ignore. For a contemporary academic to be curious about a smallish pugilist is very telling indeed. In short, it tells us that people are talking about Roman Gonzalez, so much so that the larger world outside of that occupied by fight nuts is starting to hear the man’s name.
And while it’s true Gonzalez will most likely never reach the popularity of a Mayweather or a Pacquiao, he may most certainly become a legitimate star regardless. How? Through generating interest and excitement. Needless to say, the man has been doing a wonderful job bringing the heat so far. Sure, he wasn’t able to knock out his foe last weekend, but McWilliams Arroyo was nothing if not a talented, determined and courageous foe.
Like Mike Tyson, Gonzalez will be forgiven for not knocking out everyone in his path. So long as he continues to excite, to thrill and to dominate, his popularity will likely continue to grow into the future. Why? Because Gonzalez never, ever sleeps on the job. He’s also becoming a bit synonymous with excitement when it comes to boxing’s core fan base. That has a lot to do with Gennady Golovkin.
And it has even more to do with Home Box Office.
For someone came up with the brilliant idea (that’s not sarcasm, by the way) to pair up Gonzalez’ matches with the ferocious and feared GGG’s. And as the Kazakh’s popularity has grown, so has Gonzalez’. Granted, neither is at the level of say, a Canelo Alvarez, but both men are doing an excellent job getting their names out there. While the bigger GGG is getting more of the spotlight, Gonzalez is earning the notice of fans who may have otherwise ignored a flyweight fighter, no matter how good that flyweight’s record might have been.
That’s saying something.
There truly is no such thing as an overnight sensation when it comes to boxing. James Douglas, arguably the biggest “overnight sensation” in history, had been kicking around the heavyweight division for what seemed like ages before he finally stunned the world by knocking out Mike Tyson. In other words, it generally takes time for careers to develop. Even though Gonzalez is now on the fast track, it will take a bit for him to reach his full potential as far as viewership numbers and paychecks are concerned.
Word is Gonzalez may soon headline his own card on HBO, however. If that’s not a big development, it’s frankly hard to say what is.