Roman Gonzalez brings flyweight action back to HBO
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LOS ANGELES, Calif. – It took a while for diehard boxing fans to see Gennady Golovkin on network television. Since then, the WBA middleweight titleholder has been a staple on HBO.
Maybe the same could be said about Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez. Diehard boxing fans may have tired of looking for streams or waiting to watch video of him on YouTube.
However this trend might be coming to an end.
Gonzalez will defend his WBC flyweight title against Edgar Sosa on May 16 at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif. The bout will precede the Gennady Golovkin-Willie Monroe Jr. main event and both bouts will be televised live on HBO.
Gonzalez and Sosa met with the press on Wednesday afternoon to officially announce the 12-round bout. Having fought mostly in his native Nicaragua and in Japan, Gonzalez will fight for the third time in Southern California, where a number of people of Nicaraguan descent live.
While Gonzalez is in his prime, some wondered whether he would fight in the United States again, let alone on a network like HBO or Showtime.
Through negotiations between Tom Loeffler, Teiken Promotions, and Zanfer Promotions, the fight was made and added to the Golovkin-Monroe card.
While Showtime televised the flyweight title bout between Vic Darchinyan and Nonito Donaire in 2007, it has been about three times as long since HBO has televised a flyweight bout.
“It has been a long, hard road for 112-pound fighters to make their way back on to HBO,” said Vice President of Programming for HBO Sports Peter Nelson. “It’s been about 20 years since HBO last had a fight at flyweight. When fighters fight at an elite level and have achieved that level as ‘Chocolatito’ has, they merit an opportunity to be seen by as wide and appreciative an audience as we can provide for them. We’re thrilled for this event.”
Tom Loeffler, managing director of K2 Promotions, confirmed to the media that over 5,000 tickets have been sold thus far.
He believes the number of Mexican and Nicaraguan boxing fans, along with those who want to see Golovkin, could sell out the event. The Forum will be scaled to seat about 13,000.
According to Loeffler, the stylistic match-up between Gonzalez and Sosa could produce fireworks, similar to the great fights that have taken place in the venue in the 1970s and ’80s.
“This card is reminiscent of the fights that would take place at the Fabulous Forum, where so many great champions have fought.”
Gonzalez (42-0, 36 knockouts) echoed those sentiments.
“I believe our fight will be the fight of the night,” said Gonzalez, who is promoted by Teiken Promotions and managed by Carlos Blandon. “It will be a memorable night. A night fight fans will not forget. This is a great opportunity to fight my great friend, Edgar Sosa, who’s a great champion and is well-known.”
Some wonder if Sosa (51-8, 30 KOs) has a realistic shot at defeating Gonzalez. The Mexico City resident has defeated some of the best fighters in the lower weight classes in Ulises “Archi” Solis, Brian Viloria and Giovani Segura.
The 35-year-old believes he is not only capable of competing in the ring with Gonzalez but is able to defeat him.
“Out of respect to him and those in boxing, I will be in the best shape of my career,” said Sosa, who is promoted by Zanfer. “To face a world champion like Roman Gonzalez motivates me a lot. I’m very happy to be part of this. It’s a big deal to fight at the Forum, where many great fighters have fought. It’s a historic venue where many great battles have been fought.”
“I’m very motivated.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Salazar also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.