By Dan Ambrose
Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez is possible for the Saul Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin undercard on May 5, according to promoter Tom Loeffler. Gonzalez (46-2, 38 KOs) still doesn’t have an opponent for that card, but he would be fighting a tune-up, so it doesn’t matter that his opponent for that card hasn’t been selected yet.
There currently aren’t any undercard fights on the Golovkin-Canelo 2 card. The fight is still up in the air right now due to Canelo testing positive for the performance enhancing drug clenbuterol. The Nevada State Athletic Commission is investigating Canelo’s case and they should be saying something soon about their findings.
Fighting on the undercard of Canelo-GGG 2 on HBO pay-per-view will likely mean that Chocolatito will be expected to at least fight a contender in the super flyweight or flyweight divisions. There are a lot of options to choose from for Chocolaito to fight, but as bad as he’s looked since moving up to the 115 lb. weight class in 2016, his promoter is going to need to be pick wisely if they want to avoid seeing him beaten again. There are some fringe contenders that Gonzalez can likely beat at 115 if he chooses to stay in that weight class.
Here are some potential options for Gonzalez to fight at 115 on the Canelo vs. Golovkin 2 card:
• Iran Diaz
• Jhonriel Casimero
• Hernan Marquez
• Luis Concepcion
• Jamie Conlan
If Gonzalez can beat one of those guys in a confidence booster, then you can argue that he should look for a title shot against WBA super flyweight champion Khalid Yafai next. However, if Gonzalez struggles to beat one of those fighters or if he loses, then it’s academic that he needs to move back down to 112 lbs. at the very least or else retire from boxing. Gonzalez was fighting so incredibly well when he was still fighting at 112, and that was just two years ago in 2016.
The wheels came off Gonzalez’s career when he had the brilliant idea of moving up to 115 to take on Cuadras and then Rungvisai. Before moving up to super flyweight, Gonzalez looked sensational in defeating McWilliams Arroyo by a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision in April 2014. This is the same Arroyo that easily beat Cuadras last month on February 24 at SuperFly2 at the Forum in Inglewood, California.
I don’t think Gonzalez’s career is over. It looks like he made a foolish decision in moving up to 115, and instead of realizing that he’s not cut out for that weight class after his fight with Cuadras in 2016, Gonzalez chose to stay in that weight class. We’ve seen what a mistake that’s been for Gonzalez with him losing his last two fights to Rungvisai. You can argue most fighters would immediately move back down in weight if they struggled and lost repeatedly after moving up a weight class, but Gonzalez seems to have a stubborn streak that is preventing him from admitting that he’s not cut out for the 115 lb. weight class.
Guys like Rungvisai wouldn’t move up to a weight if he couldn’t compete at a high level at his new weight. If Rungvisai thought he could dominate at bantamweight or super bantamweight, he would be fighting in those weight classes. If Rungvisai did move up in weight and immediately start taking loses, he would likely move back down. But for some reason, Gonzalez has a problem with acknowledging that he’s not meant to fight at super flyweight. It’s too bad, because it’s unlikely that Gonzalez is going to go anywhere if he stays in the 115 lb. weight class. Even if Gonzalez beats WBA super flyweight champion Yafai, he’ll be a paper champion, and second fiddle to Rungvisai, who is seen as the best fighter at 115.
Former pound-for-pound No.1 fighter Gonzalez, 30, has a 2-fight losing streak from his defeats to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. Gonzalez needs a win in the worst way right now. He can’t afford another loss at this point. Since it doesn’t seem like Gonzalez is interested in moving back down to flyweight [112 lbs.] or light flyweight [108 lbs.], he’s going to need to try and make the best of things at 115. Gonzalez is clearly not suited for the super flyweight division. We’ve seen that ever since Gonzalez moved up to the 115 lb. weight class in September 2016 against Carlos Cuadras. Although Gonzalez beat Cuadras by a 12 round unanimous decision, he took terrible punishment along the way. Gonzalez had never taken that kind of punishment before during his career in a winning effort.
That should have been a big hint for Chocolatito that he needed to move back down to 112, but he chose not to accept the reality. Chocolaito stayed at 115 and fought Rungvisai last year in March and took a beating in losing a 12 round majority decision. At that point it should have dawned on the Nicaraguan Gonzalez that doesn’t have the size or the power at 115 to compete successfully at the highest levels of the super flyweight division.
Chocolatito’s place as the next star for HBO has been taken by Rungvisai, who has the commentators for that network excited about his talent. It kind of shows you how quickly the smaller fighter’s case see their careers bottom out when they make a questionable move like going up in weight. Chocolatito’s career likely would be still humming along nicely if he’d made an immediate correction after his fight with Cuadras and moved back down to 112. Gonzalez would likely still be undefeated and would still be No.1 pound for pound. Gonzalez’s decision to stick it out at 115 has led to him getting beaten twice in a row by Rungvisai, and his career is now looking like it’s on the brink of being finished entirely.