Already A Legend, Roman Gonzalez Still Wants To Challenge Himself
Already A Legend, Roman Gonzalez Still Wants To Challenge Himself
By: Sean Crose
“I have already accomplished a lot,” undefeated multi-division champion Roman Gonzalez said on a recent conference call. Without doubt, the Nicaraguan slugger known as Chocolatito has earned some well deserved accolades. Last November the man won a world title in his fourth weight class by grinding out a grueling win against Carlos Cuadras for the WBC world super flyweight title. His legacy assured, Gonzalez is turning his attention towards other matters. “Now,” he claimed on the call, “my goal is to hold onto my fourth world title in order to gain higher purses and more money.” Fighting at 115 pounds isn’t exactly easy for Gonzalez, however.
“Never did I think it was going to be easy campaigning in this division at 115,” Gonzalez said. “It takes time to get used to and I think that’s what is happening at the moment but I think I will be fine.” His battle against Cuadras certainly was no walk in the park. Defending champ Cuadras wasn’t in it to lose. Indeed, the undefeated Mexican made it clear that he saw Gonzalez was his ticket to the big time. And even though Cuadras lost the fight, he gained an enormous amount of respect from the fight world.
And now people, including, it seems, Gonzalez, are looking forward to a rematch. “As I look at a fight coming up against Carlos Cuadras again,” Gonzalez claimed, “I realize I have to train harder. Every opponent presents different challenges. I do believe that the second fight, the rematch, will be better.” First, however, Gonzalez has business to attend to in Madison Square Garden this Saturday. For, Gonzalez will be featured in the co main event of the Gennady Golovkin-Daniel Jacobs card. His opponent? The hard hitting former champ Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, the man who Cuadras won the super flyweight title from.
In other words, it’s not necessarily easy going for Chocolatito this weekend. Sor Rungvisai may not have faced a murderer’s row throughout his career, but he goes to the body like it’s no one’s business. What’s more, Sun Rungvisai, like Cuadras, undoubtedly sees a great future ahead of him should he beat the Nicaraguan legend. Then there’s the matter that Gonzalez’ last fight was an absolutely brutal affair. Such things can have an impact. Add all this to the fact that the man has already reached Olympian heights and it’s worth wondering if an upset might be in the air.
Still, this is Gonzalez fighting here, the fighter widely regarded as the best pound for pound boxer on earth. Whether that’s really true or not, Gonzalez is a force to be reckoned with. What’s more, he knows what it’s like to be on a big stage. “On any other show,” promoter Tom Loeffler said of Gonzalez-Sor Rungvisai, “it would clearly be the main event.”
Best 10 Boxing Fights of 2016
Best 10 Boxing Fights of 2016
By: Jordan Seward
With the new year approaching it’s time to reflect on the best boxing action of 2016, so in no particular order….
Orlando Salido vs Francisco Vargas
The two Mexicans treated us to a classic right up to the final bell for Vargas’ (23-0-2) WBC World Super Featherweight title. Vargas, coming off the back of Fight of the Year for 2015 faced a true, steely warrior in the 36-year-old Salido (43-13-4). It was a back-and-fourth slug fest between two champions who don’t know when to quit. In the end the pair couldn’t be separated and the judges correctly scored it a draw.
Tony Bellew vs Ilunga Makabu
The real life rocky story that saw Bellew (28-2-1) finally crowned a world champion. Just after starring in the new rocky film ‘The Bomber’ got his third bite at the cherry facing a dangerous and feared Congolese who had chalked up 18 knockouts in 19 fights. A packed crowed inside his beloved Everton football club’s stadium were stunned when Makabu (19-2) sent Bellew rolling over at the end of the first. The Everton man climbed off the canvas Balboa esque and rallied to stop Makabu in the third with a flourish of heavy punches to claim the vacant WBC World Cruiserweight strap.
Dillian Whyte vs Dereck Chisora
This one had it all. Filled with controversy from the start these two Heavyweights threw everything but the kitchen sink. A table was thrown though. At a press conference. Which, as a result meant the British title wasn’t on the line. But after all the talk, the bad mouthing and the attempted scrapping Whyte (20-1) and Chisora (26-7) done it properly in the ring and fought out a clean and action-packed-12-rounder. Both men were rocked and absorbed a lot of punishment, but Whyte’s superior stamina was just about enough to nick it for him on the judges’ scorecard by split decision.
Keith Thurman vs Shawn Porter
Thurman (27-0) was getting in the ring with probably the best opponent he’s faced. The only man to previously have defeated Porter (26-2-1) was Kell Brook, but, in a fierce competitive fight, Thurman successfully defended his WBA World Welterweight title dishing out Porter’s second loss of his career with a 115-113 unanimous decision. Although the announcement was greeted by booing, the stats suggested Thurman deservedly had his hand raised at the end, landing 43.6% of his punches while his opponent made 35.6%.
Andre Ward vs Sergey Kovalev
The fight that everyone scored differently. It was a fight we all wanted as soon as Ward made the jump up from Super-Middleweight. The defensive suave of Ward (31-0) met the aggressive power of ‘The Krusher’ (30-1-1) at the T-Mobile Arena, in Las Vegas. The American, fighting on home turf, was put down in the second round for only the second time in his illustrious career. But Ward, as Ward does, after falling behind on the cards managed to take the second half of the fight and claim Kovalev’s WBO, IBF and WBA Super World Light Heavyweight titles by unanimous decision.
Carl Frampton vs Leo Santa Cruz
After unifying his IBF super-bantamweight title by outpointing Scott Quigg, the Northern Irishmen capped off his impressive year by adding Leo Santa Cruz’s (32-1-1) WBA Super World Featherweight belt. ‘The Jackal’ (23-0) jumped up a weight division and battled it out with the Mexican champion in an absolute barn burner. After a hard and punishing 12 rounds it went to the judges’ scorecards and Frampton, was given the nod. Now, just for us, they’re doing it all again at the MGM Grand on the 28th January. Not a bad way to start the new year.
Hosea Burton vs Frank Buglioni
Words were exchanged between the pair in what was a heated build up to this Light-Heavyweight contest for the British title. But when the fighting started it quickly turned in to a very watchable and enjoyable scrap. Both Burton (18-1) and Buglioni (19-2-1) continuously plowed forwards, in attempts to assert their dominance. They were both taking serious damage and in the twelfth-round Burton’s chickens came home to roost. The 28-year-old was slowing down and deserved to hear the final bell but with just one minute left in the bout Buglioni landed some hurtful blows and the ref waved it off.
Thomas Williams Jr. vs Edwin Rodriguez
A fiery, hard fought contest… while it lasted. At the StubHub Center, on the undercard of Andre Berto’s knockout win against Victor Ortiz, Rodriguez, (28-2) displayed courage, grit, determination, and, a chin. In this two-rounder, it was Williams Jr (20-2) who was landing the more powerful and hurtful shots but a number of times Rodriguez remained upright and proudly came firing back. In the end, it took a monster left hook to knock the resolute 31-year-old out.
Gennady Golovkin vs Kell Brook
As far as unexpected fights go, this one took the biscuit. You couldn’t have called it. This was not a fight many had in mind, but, when it was made it was all the talk. The IBF World Welterweight champion, Brook, jumped up two weight division to face the feared Middleweight kingpin at the O2 Arena. Looking in great shape and as confident as ever the Englishman made a great start to the fight. However, as the fight went on we began to realise Brook wouldn’t be making history as Golovkin’s power started to take its toll and Brook’s trainer, Dominic Ingle threw in the towel stopping proceedings in the fifth round.
Anthony Crolla vs Ismael Barroso
After prizing away the WBA World Lightweight title from Darleys Perez in their second meeting, Crolla, (31-5-3)made his first defence against the man who, effectively, sent world title challenger Kevin Mitchell into retirement. As expected, the Venezuelan (19-1-2) started strong and, typical of a Joe Gallagher fighter, Crolla did not. He absorbed some early punishment and probably lost the first five rounds. It became clear after six though, that Crolla’s tactics were spot on, as the challenger noticeably began to tire. He had thrown all he had and was on empty, Crolla seized his chance and overwhelmed his opponent, eventually stopping him in the seventh.
When Ali Fought Foreman
When Ali Fought Foreman
By: Jordan Seward
42 years ago to the day Muhammad Ali fought George Foreman in the rumble in the jungle in what turned out to be one of the most significant boxing events in history, arguably, turned out to be the most significant victory of Muhammad ‘The Greatest’ Ali’s glittering career.
On October 30 1974, Muhammad Ali produced an 8th round knockout of the favoured George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) in what is now regarded as one of the greatest sporting events of the 20th century.
With the odds stacked against him, with a fearsome opponent in front of him, and, with plenty of miles on the clock – Ali didn’t just win the WBC and WBA world heavyweight titles that night, he cemented his place among the greats. And it easily could have been oh so different.
Born as Cassisus Marcellus Clay, Jr, in Louisville, Kentucky on January 14, 1942, he went on to achieve gold at the Olympic games in Rome 1960. At the age of 22 after beating Sonny Liston and claiming the WBC and WBA world heavyweight titles for the first time he converted to Islam and changed his name from Cassius Clay, which he regarded as his ‘slave name’ to Muhammad Ali.
With the United States at war with Vietnam, Ali refused to be inducted into the U.S. Army on April 28, 1967, famously saying “I ain’t got no quarrel with those Vietcong”. He was convicted of draft evasion, fined $10,000 as well as being stripped of his belts and received a three-and-a-half-year suspension from boxing and a five-year prison sentence, though the latter was appealed and overturned.
He regained his boxing licence in 1970 and began his reinvention and climb back to the top with comeback fights against Jerry Quarry and Oscar Bonavena. But while Ali was out of contention Joe ‘Smokin’ Frazier, an emerging talent took full advantage and claimed the world titles against Jimmy Ellis in February 1970. Ali didn’t have to wait long for his shot to claim those prized belts back though, but it was Frazier, who came out on top, dishing out Ali’s first defeat with a unanimous decision victory in 1971 to retain the belts.
Frazier would have a taste of his own medicine two years later when gold medallist from the 1968 Olympics George Foreman, knocked him down six times on route to a second round TKO. When Foreman took on Ken Norton on 26 March 1974, Norton and Frazier, bearing in mind the latter who had just been demolished by Foreman, were the only men to have defeated Ali. Norton received the same treatment as Frazier and was stopped inside two rounds.
At the age of just 25 the freakish power and sheer size of Foreman was why he was deemed as an overwhelming favourite when he and the then 32-year-old Muhammad Ali shared a ring. He was 40-0 with 37 KO’s and Ali had just avenged his two defeats by beating Norton and then Frazier in Madison Square Garden. It was all set for the rumble in the jungle.
Funny enough it was one of Don King’s first ventures as a boxing promoter and he was joined by music businessman Jerry Masucci to arrange the fight. A three-night-long music festival dedicated to the fight took place as scheduled on September 22–24 1974. It included performances from James Brown, Celia Cruz and the Fania All-Stars, B.B. King, Miriam Makeba, The Spinners, Bill Withers, The Crusaders, and Manu Dibango.
With 60,000 fans packed inside of the 20th May Stadium, surprisingly, Ali started the fight in aggressive fashion – something that seemed to favour Foreman’s style. In the build up to the fight Ali wasn’t shy of admitting he had a secret plan for Foreman and in the second round he administered it. He began to frequently lean on the ropes and cover up as his opponent began to unload, the majority of the punches landing on the arms and body. Foreman was throwing regularly but his punches were not scoring and all the while he was exerting valuable energy.
Ali later dubbed this tactic as the ‘rope-a-dope’. Ali ensured he wasn’t wasteful and every opportunity he got he landed shots to the head as ‘Big George’ Foreman’s face visibly began to puff. He began to taunt his opponent as he out-wrestled and maneuvered him in clinches. Foreman’s frustration was an agent of his own demise as he began to throw more
powerful punches but to little effect.
Fast hard jabs and crosses from Ali began to pay dividends as he wobbled his opponent in the fourth. Foreman remained on the front foot and kept coming forward but started to look weary after the end of the fifth round. As the fight progressed it was the former world champion and underdog who was in control and in the eight he landed a solid 5-punch combination sent Foreman crashing to the canvas. He got up at the nine count but referee Zach Clayton waved it off and at 32-years-old Muhammad Ali had regained the world heavyweight titles.
The fight was awarded the 1974 Ring Magazine Fight of the Year. The against all the odds story of Ali conquering a young and stronger champion, the diverse cultural influence and the major hype of this fight are some of the reasons why this fight will always be remembered. Both Foreman and Ali achieved so much in their careers but this victory in this fight meant ‘The Greatest’ could shout out to the world with full conviction he is the greatest and that’s what he’s remembered as.