Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez Weighing Retirement
For the last decade, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (51-4, 41 KOs) has been one of boxing’s elite fighters, regardless of weight class. Is Chocolatito finally ready to hang up the gloves for good?
Gonzalez is coming off a majority decision defeat in his trilogy to Juan Francisco Estrada (44-3, 28 KOs) on December 3. When asked after the fight if he plans to fight on, one of the greatest fighters from Latin America said the following:
“I don’t know yet; I’m going to talk about it with my family . . . my kids are the most important things. That’s what I have to take into consideration.”
NOT HIS FIRST TALK OF RETIREMENT
Following the passing of trainer Arnulfo Obando and back-to-back losses to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in 2017, the fighter from Managua, Nicaragua gave it serious thought but had a change of heart. He had a resurgence in his career. After fighting only once in 2018 and 2019, Gonzalez stopped Kal Yafai in February 2020 to capture the WBA junior bantamweight crown. After defending that belt once, he engaged in a second of three bouts with Estrada in March 2021.
Chocolatito lost a disputed split decision in what turned into 3Kings Boxing’s 2021 Fight of the Year. But his popularity had reached an all-time high. After that setback, he returned to the ring, giving a fighting lesson en route to a dominating twelve-round decision over the current WBC flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez in March 2022.
WHAT’S DIFFERENT THIS TIME?
In this most recent outing against Estrada, Gonzalez didn’t look like himself. With a well-earned reputation as an elite combination puncher, his shots were less crisp and delivered with less speed. It took until the middle rounds for Gonzalez to sink his teeth into the contest. While he staged a late rally, Estrada was the fresher man at the final bell.
Chocolatito is a four-division champion and a future first-ballot Hall of Famer. But, when a fighter says he doesn’t know if he will carry on, that fighter usually has one foot out the door. At age 35, it’s looking more and more like this is the end of his career.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.