HBO’s Peter Nelson: ‘Roman Gonzalez is one of the brightest lights in boxing’
On Saturday, the co-feature to Gennady Golovkin-Willie Monroe Jr. will feature RING and WBC flyweight champion Roman Gonzalez in his HBO debut against former junior flyweight beltholder Edgar Sosa at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. The “World Championship Boxing” broadcast begins at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Gonzalez (42-0, 36 knockouts) fought in America three times between 2011 and 2012, including an outstanding decision victory over current WBC/WBO 112-pound boss Juan Estrada, when both were campaigning at 108 pounds. Unfortunately for the Nicaraguan, there wasn’t really an opportunity to fight with any regularity in America at the time.
However, earlier this year, after talks with Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions and Akihiko Honda of Teiken Promotions, HBO decided to get into the “Chocolatito” business.
“Roman is one of the brightest lights in boxing,” Peter Nelson, vice president of programming for HBO Sports, told RingTV.com at the Canelo Alvarez-James Kirkland press conference last Thursday. “Those who know the cognizant of boxing, hardcore fans, members of the press, have great awareness to the spectacular fights that he’s been in as well as the fight he’s in next week that augurs to be a tremendous all action fight with Edgar Sosa.”
Over the past couple of years, the flyweight division has become one of the strongest in boxing and is in the middle of a golden era. Whatever way you look, there appears to be several, can’t-miss fights, notwithstanding other boxers at 108 and 115, who are only a few pounds away from joining the mix. Nelson has a long-term vision.
“The division is rich and obviously there’s one burgeoning, rising star at 115 pounds [Naoya Inoue] and obviously there’s going to start to be an appetite to see those two comets collide,” he said, “though there is time to build and Chocolatito Gonzalez certainly needs to grow into be a 115-pounder before that would be approached.
“There is still plenty of richness within the [flyweight] division itself. We’ve seen fighters at that weight reinvent themselves with greater regularity than fighters at heavier weights. We’ve seen that in iterations of careers, whether we see the great fights with [Juan] Estrada; Brian Viloria is constantly a threat. Fighters like this can always make good, quality fights with a fighter like Roman Gonzalez, who always comes to fight. He’s an all-action kind of fighter. So there’s a great profound, richness to the division. It also augurs well for what else is there for him if he decides to move up in the coming years.”
With that in mind, are we going to see the touted fight between Gonzalez and Inoue marinate?
“I’m always less for marinating and more for cooking,” countered Nelson. “Fights like these do take time and whether or not it’s the ambition of Roman Gonzalez to move up in weight, we have no idea. He’s focused on next Saturday against Edgar Sosa.
“It figures to be a spectacular all-action night and, from there, I’m sure his team will assess what direction they want to go but we’re thrilled to have re-entered into the weight division with a quality fight, not a showcase and something where the winner – whether it’s Roman or Sosa (51-8, 30 KOs) – figures to be an integral part of our programming slate as we take a look deeper into the flyweight division.”
Thankfully, one of the best fighters in the world will now get the attention his skills have long deserved.