No matter how great a boxer actually is or thought to be, he or she always meets his or her match. No matter the number of titles, the undefeated records, and the best pound-for-pound accolades, even the best will cross paths with that one fighter that just has their number. On Saturday night the pride of Nicaragua, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (46-2, 38 KOs), met his kryptonite for a second time, with this loss being a definitive fourth round knockout.
Just six months ago, relatively unknown Thai boxer, Wisaksil Wangek (44-4-1, 40 KOs) (who also goes by the alias Srisaket Sor Rungvisai), stepped into the ring at Madison Square Garden, in New York, to take on Gonzalez, who was undefeated at the time. As an fight on the under card of the Gennady Golovkin versus Daniel Jacobs main event, Srisaket had never fought previously in the United States and many thought that this would be an easy title defense for Chocolatito, who held the WBC World Super Flyweight Title at the time. The odds in Las Vegas were heavily in Chocolatito’s favor and the fans at MSG were hoping to see Chocolatito’s typical aggressive pressure fighting style. What they got was something totally different.
After delivering a hard, flush right hook in round one, Srisket (a southpaw) could be seen gaining confidence in the early rounds. The fight quickly turned into a brutal and bloody battle with both fighters trading shots and ultimately an inadvertent clash of heads in round three led to a deep gash on top of the right eye of Chocolatito. A second clash of heads ensued in round 4 and again in round 6, causing referee Steve Willis to take a point away from Srisiket giving Chocolatito a 10-8 edge in round six. While many thought this was the difference in the fight, Srisaket never hung his head and he continued to go toe-to-toe with Chocolatito until the last bell in the twelfth round. The atmosphere in MSG was very tense as the judges figured out their scorecards and there was growing sentiment of uncertainty as to whether or not Chocolatito had suffered his first loss. Well, in fact, he had. The judges scored the fight 112-114, 112-114 and 113-113, crowning Srisaket Sor Rungvisai the new WBC World Super Flyweight champion, much to the dismay of the shock of Chocolatito and the crowd at MSG.
Immediately after the fight, fans called for a rematch as the popular opinion had become that Srisaket hadn’t done enough to unseat Gonazalez.
Fast forward to this past Saturday night, January 9th at the StubHub Center in Carson, California – Gonzalez vs Sor Rungvisai II. Chocolatito vowed that he was focused on regaining his belt. Chocolatito’s career accomplishments include four championship reigns: the WBA Minimumweight Title from 2008 to 2010; the WBA Light Flyweight title from 2011 to 2013; the WBC, Ring magazine, and Lineal Flyweight Titles from 2014 to 2016; and the WBC Super Flyweight Title from 2016 to 2017. From September 2015 to March 2017, he was also ranked by The Ring as the world’s best pound for pound boxer. Despite both fighters being over the age of 30, there was no doubt that they would the second go-around would be a great fight. Rungvisai was coming into the ring as the defending world champion with tons of confidence and having doubled the length of his training camp from two months to four months for the fight.
From the opening bell, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai controlled the fight. Chocolatito appeared to be slow and unmotivated. He threw fewer total punches than Rungvisai, (219 punches for Rungvisai to 212 punches for Gonzalez) and he landed far fewer power shots (54/177 for Roman vs 80/236 for Srisaket). In fact, all 80 of Srisaket’s landed punches on Gonzalez were power shots.
All 80 of Srisaket Sor Rungvisai’s landed punches on Roman Gonzalez were power shots.
Thailand’s Srisaket knocked Gonzalez down twice in the final round. The first knockdown came with 2:27 left on the clock, when the southpaw Srisaket landed a short right hook to the side of the head. Gonzalez was able to get up at the count of seven and continue. However, 42 seconds later, Srisaket finished the challenger off with a devastating right hook with 1:45 to go in the fourth. Gonzalez, already stunned from the first knockdown, stayed on the canvas for a couple of minutes before rising slowly and going to his corner. He was taken the hospital after regaining consciousness, for medical treatment.
It was disheartening to watch a once great champion and the best pound-for-pound boxer as he lie on the canvas with his arms at his side without consciousness. How could such a storied career come crashing down in less than six months. Despite only being thirty years old, some speculate that smaller fighters age quicker causing Chocolatito to slow down and not have the same punching power or speed that he had previously. Others just chalk it up to Chocolatito finally meeting the one fighter that could crack the “Chocolatito Code”. Whatever the reasons, it’s clear that the future Chocolatito’s career is uncertain.
After the fight Gonzalez made no excuses. “We were both trading punches, but his were harder, and they landed harder,” said Gonzalez. “I was very hurt the second time when I was knocked down, but I think I’ll be OK.”
When asked if he would consider retirement, Gonzalez said, ““We are close to retiring. I already did what I had to do. I won four world titles and I did not spend much time with my family, my children. They are very small and they need me.”
“In the end, God decides, not me,” Gonzalez said. “But I’m ready to retire from boxing. I’m going to sit with my children. They will make the decision. If one day something bad happens to me, they are the ones left alone.”
Should he decide to return to boxing after taking some time off, he will need to decide if he wants to stay at 115 pounds in the Super Flyweight division, where he has is 1-2, or try to cut an extra three pounds to box at Flyweight, where he was undefeated. However, Gonzalez and his team recognize that making the Flyweight limit of 112 pounds is nearly impossible, but if he hopes to regain some of his magic, he may have to figure out a way to do so or risk being down for the count yet again.
We at Eightcount.tv wish Chocolatito the very best no matter what he decides to do. His place in boxing history is cemented, although his legacy is a bit tarnished.