By Matt Bevan (@MBevs68)
Pound-for-Pound lists are all the rage on boxing sites and a constant source for an argument between boxing fans. For casual fans it is a chance to see who the best fighters are currently and who to keep an eye out for next time they are broadcast live.
The usual names inhabit all the lists, led by Floyd Mayweather alongside well-known names like Wladimir Klitschko, Manny Pacquiao and Carl Froch, but there is one name in particular that should stand out, however he is overlooked by not just fans, but many members of the media.
If you said the name Roman Gonzalez to most fans, they wouldn’t have a clue, but for the media to pass over such a talent as the 27-year-old Nicaraguan is shocking.
However they will soon jump on the bandwagon should Gonzalez once again thrill the crowds on Saturday, when he takes on Edgar Sosa in the second defence of his WBC Flyweight belt, as chief support to Gennady Golovkin’s latest procession against Willie Monroe, live on HBO.
So, why is this man being forgotten and largely ignored by the boxing fraternity? After all, with a record of 42-0, 36 by KO, and a three weight world champion, his record is not so dissimilar from boxing’s biggest star, Floyd Mayweather, who earns ridiculous sums of money every time he fights.
Well, first of all, weight is a problem in terms of the recognition you receive in boxing. Whereas “Money” Mayweather is a welterweight, Gonzalez is a flyweight and the lower weights are largely ignored.
The other big names are put on in their hometowns in Arenas, televised with huge support; Gonzalez has had to make do with doing it all the hard way, recently basing himself in Japan, where he is at least guaranteed good fights from the local champions there.
Gonzalez has fought regularly in Nicaragua, where he is rated as their greatest fighter since Alexis Arguello, who championed “Chocolatito” himself, but worldwide recognition is nowhere to be found.
His fight with current fellow flyweight beltholder Juan Francisco Estrada in 2012, down at light-fly, is a classic, whilst he was equally outstanding the night he beat Akira Yaegashi for his current crown, dominating the Japanese fighter, who was a stalwart of the division.
“Chocolatito” even went unbeaten as an amateur, a fact I was only made aware of by a fellow writer at Kell Brook’s press conference for the Jo Jo Dan fight back in March, thus making him even more remarkable. For a man who has never tasted defeat in a ring, perhaps it shows why he fights like a man possessed at times.
Golovkin is a man who has taken the boxing world by storm and is mooted for some huge fights later this year or early next. However, Gonzalez has a huge opportunity to steal the limelight from the Kazakh monster for a night. That in itself would be a huge achievement, but one the tiny Nicaraguan is more capable than doing of getting.
Fans may tune in to HBO at the weekend, expecting another Golovkin masterclass, which they are likely to get. But, it could be Gonzalez who takes the plaudits and makes them wonder, why have I never seen this guy before? Then fans, and even the media, will finally pay attention to boxing’s forgotten superstar.by