By: Sean Cross
The sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden was shocked. Roman Gonzalez, also known as “Chocolate”, was the 46-0 WBC Super Bantamweight Champion. He was considered by many to be one of the best boxers on earth. Suffice it to say, no one expected Chocolatito to hit the mat that night in his 12-round battle with Srisaket Sour Rungvisai. On the canvas in the very first round was Chocolatito, the victim of a gruesome body shot by Sor Rungvisai. Still, the Nicaraguan master was surprisingly able to beat the count, and was fighting brilliantly.
However, Sor Rungvisai also fought brilliantly – with Chocolatito’s WBC belt impressively to walk out of the ring by majority decision that night. The upset turned out to be a surprise, but no one expected to see what ultimately went down in the rematch. Gonzalez was completely blown away by Sor Rungvisai when they met six months later in Carson, California. Now that the seemingly former great has lost in the fourth round, fans of the fighters are used to seeing husks.
Somehow the man managed to come back. This in itself was not surprising, as many, if not most, fighters continued to fight after defeat. What’s surprising is that Chocolatito was able to return to form. The man went on to win four in a row over the next three years, three away to become world champion again. Furthermore, in March 2021, the Stars are set to face WBC Super Flyweight Champion Juan Francisco Estrada in a divisional rematch. The fight, needless to say, turned out to be extraordinary. Estrada got the win, but the decision could have gone either way. A third match was in order, and so the two fighters met one more time this past weekend in Glendale, Arizona.
Again, it was a terrible fight. Again, it could have gone either way. While Estrada was more active, Gonzalez threw the better shots. However, the judges gave Estrada the nod once. Although it’s hard to argue that the decision was unfair, it wasn’t hard to see that Chocolatito didn’t look like himself in the fight. He was slow to get going, and usually slow to pull the trigger. Whether it’s simply an off night, or signs of a true decline must appear (Chocolatito must decide to keep fighting). What is not open to debate, however, is the close second act of Chocolatito’s masterpiece.