By: Sean Crose
He certainly looked like a finished man back in 2017. There he was, sprawled out on the ring, having just been destroyed by Sirksaret Sor Rungvisai – his second loss in a row. Perhaps people had good reason to feel that Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez was a force no more. He was pushing thirty, after all, not a young age for fighters who operate in the lighter weight realms, as Chocolatito had. What’s more, the future Hall of Famer had been getting bigger physically while taking on bigger challenges. Chocolatito’s battle the previous year against Carlos Cuadras had been no easy affair for the Nicaraguan. Again, Chocolatito looked like a finished man as he lie crumpled at the feet of of Sor Rungvisai.
That was then…since that time, things have changed. First, Chocolatito took a year off from the ring. Then, the man went on to win four fights in a row, three of those times within the distance. Finally, Chocolatito slipped between the ropes last year to face Juan Francisco Estrada for the second time. At stake were the WBA and WBC super flyweight titles. Although he ended up losing the fight via controversial decision, it was clear to everyone that Chocolatito had returned to form – a least to a large degree.
Chocolatito-Estrada 3 was subsequently set to go down, but Covid 19 took Estrada out of the occasion. In stepped WBC flyweight titlist Julio Cesar Martinez, and last weekend, he and Chocolatito threw down in San Diego. It was, to be sure, a complete master class on the part of the veteran Chocolatito, as he thoroughly overwhelmed his younger opponent. While no one could argue that Martinez was game, tough, and skilled, he was simply no match for a fighter of Chocolatito’s caliber. Employing a sharp defense while pressuring relentlessly and throwing thudding shots with laser like accuracy, the four time champion dominated and beat up Martinez for the solid majority of the twelve round fight. Needless to say, the judges ruled in Chocolatito’s favor after the final bell had sounded.
Sometimes fans simply need to step back and wonder at a fighter’s accomplishments. Not only has Chocolatito won titles in four divisions, he has now come back from the abyss to reassert himself as one of the recognized active greats of the sport. The man’s second act actually adds to the legacy that his first act had established. Few people can achieve greatness. Even fewer can achieve it twice. Chocolatito is now in the company of a rare few.