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chocolatito gonzalez Is Back – will it be worth it?

By: Sean Crose

Not all that long ago, he was considered the single best boxer on earth. He was the entire package, hard hitting, disciplined and possessing winning footwork. There was little doubt that Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez was, if not at the summit of boxing’s Mount Olympus, then at most just a step or two below it. Recent history remains history, however, and now Gonzalez, at 37 years of age, is widely regarded as past his prime – and not without good reason. He lost his second fight in a row to Juan Francisco Estrada back in late 2022 after all…and he hasn’t been in the ring since then.

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Yet Gonzalez, who will be returning to action this Friday in his native Nicaragua, feels he still has enough left in him to rise once more to success. Indeed, the 51-4 Gonzalez will be battling the 27-5 Rober Barrera at the Polideportivo Alexis Arguello in Managua. The fight, which is scheduled for 10 rounds, will be in the bantamweight division, where Gonzalez hopes to win a stunning fifth divisional world title. His previous world titles were in the super flyweight, flyweight, light flyweight, and minimumweight divisions. Such a feat would top off an already legendary career.

Does Gonzalez have what it takes to accomplish such a formidable task, thought? The truth can’t be told at the moment, but if Gonzalez wins this week, he will be that much closer to another world title shot. Although he doesn’t have nearly the resume Gonzalez has, Barrera has won four of his last five fights within the distance. A victory over a literal legend like Gonzalez – in Gonzalez’ homeland, no less – would be a career defining moment. It might very well open new doors for the veteran slugger from Columbia. A Barrera win may also close the curtain on Gonzalez’ illustrious career.

Still, although Gonzalez is past his glory days, it’s worth remembering that the man has resurrected his resume before. After having a miserable 2017, Gonzalez appeared to be completely washed up. He then went on to win four in a row, however, picking up the WBA super flyweight title in the process. Could Gonzalez enjoy a similar comeback this time around? It certainly isn’t impossible, though it needs to be noted that a 37 year old bantamweight might be truly putting himself in considerable danger when entering the ring – both career-wise and physically. Time is an undefeated foe, after all.

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