By: Sean Crose
The sold out crowd at Madison Square Garden was stunned. Roman Gonzalez, better known as “Chocolatio,” was the 46-0 WBC super flyweight champion of the world. He was also considered by many to be one of the best, if not the single best, boxers on earth. Suffice to say, no one expected Chocolatito to hit the mat that night in his scheduled 12 round battle with Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. Yet there was Chocolatito on the canvas in the very first round, the victim of a terrific Sor Rungvisai body shot. Still, the Nicaraguan master was unsurprisingly able to beat the count, and fight on brilliantly.
Yet Sor Rungvisai fought brilliantly as well – brilliantly enough to exit the ring that night with a majority decision win on his resume, along with Chocolatito’s WBC belt. The upset came as a surprise, for sure, but no one expected to see what eventually went down in the rematch. For Gonzalez was completely thrashed by Sor Rungvisai when they met again six months later in Carson, California. The seemingly now former great ended up knocked out in the fourth round, a shell of the fighter fans were used to seeing.
Somehow, however, the man managed to come back. That was no surprise in and of itself, as many, if not most, fighters keep on fighting after a loss. What was a surprise, however, was that Chocolatito actually managed to return to form. After winning four in a row over the next three years, three within the distance, the man was once again a world champion. What’s more, he was set to have a rematch with stellar WBC super fly champion Juan Francisco Estrada in March of 2021 in a divisional unifier. The bout, needless to say, turned out to be extraordinary. Estrada got the win, but the decision could have gone either way. A third match was clearly in order, and so the two warriors met once more this past weekend in Glendale, Arizona.
Again, it was a terrific fight. Again, it could have gone either way. While Estrada was more active, Gonzalez threw the better shots. Yet the judges once more gave Estrada the nod. Although it was hard to argue that the decision was unfair, it wasn’t hard to notice that Chocolatito didn’t quite seem himself in the fight. He was slower to get going, and often slower to the pull the trigger. Whether it was simply an off night or symptomatic of a genuine decline remains to be seen (should Chocolatito decide to continue fighting). What isn’t open for debate, however, is the fact Chocolatito’s brilliant second act has come to a close.
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