There’s a new kid at the top of the charts. Floyd Mayweather has, at least for now, retired, and Chocolatito, the little Nicaraguan boxing maestro, was this week named Ring Magazine’s number one boxer in their pound-for-pound rankings.
For many boxing fans, Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez was a relative unknown before this past May when he battled Edgar Sosa on the Gennady Golovkin vs Willie Monroe Jr. card at the Forum in Inglewood, California. But Gonzalez wasted no time introducing his silky smooth boxing skills and devastating punching power to the masses in his HBO debut, knocking out a quality opponent in just two rounds with little trouble.
Ring Magazine had even less trouble naming the diminutive flyweight king as number one on their newly revised list stating: “The decision wasn’t a terribly difficult one, as the majority of those on the Ratings Panel and Editorial Board agreed that the little beast from Nicaragua belongs on top. Gonzalez has destroyed a long list of solid opponents, including the last nine by stoppage.”
Gonzalez’s road to the top has been — like so many in the lower weight classes — largely overlooked, but having compiled a flawless 43-0 record with an amazing 37 knockouts, its getting very hard to ignore him.
His career began back in 2005 in his native Nicaragua, a place made famous in fistic circles thanks to fellow countryman and Hall of Famer Alexis Arguello, who also trained Gonzalez in the early years. In an interview with Anson Wainwright after winning his third world title last year, Gonzalez praised the departed legend.
“It is a dream come true,” Gonzalez said of becoming a three-division champ. “But even if I win four world titles, I will never surpass my hero, mentor and friend. I know he is happy watching me from heaven. I will visit Alexis’ tombstone and present him with the WBC title belt to make homage to him. Without his skills and training I would not be where I am right now.”
Despite his reservations in comparing himself to his mentor, Gonzalez has equalled Arguello in terms of accomplishments, though he does lack the defining fights that Arguello had with the likes of Bobby Chacon, Alfredo Escalera, Ray Mancini and Aaron Pryor. Chocolatito’s dominance though has arguably surpassed that of Arguello’s, something that likely says more about the level of talent in the strawweight and flyweight divisions more than anything else.
Comparisons aside, Gonzalez has more than proven himself worthy as the successor to Floyd Mayweather, though unlike Floyd, he is an offensive minded fighter who loves to come forward, land big punches and knock people out, something that attracts both casual and hard-core fans alike.
Should Gonzalez stay in the flyweight division it’s likely he will stay undefeated and remain atop the pound-for-pound list, but to really become one of the sport’s big stars, Gonzalez must campaign in the junior bantamweight or bantamweight division, secure himself a title in a fourth weight division, and truly step out of the shadow of his mentor and fellow Nicaraguan great, Alexis Arguello. — Daniel Attias