Photos: Will Hart
By Kieran Mulvaney
For some years now, the most hardcore of hardcore boxing fans have been screaming for the world to pay attention to a tiny package of boxing talent from Nicaragua. On Saturday, the broader boxing public finally had a chance to see Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez in action, and the flyweight champion of the world didn’t disappoint, obliterating veteran former title holder Edgar Sosa inside of two exciting, fast-paced rounds.
This was the kind of performance of which fighters dream, and over which TV network executives salivate, a massively-touted champion not only living up to the hype, but knocking it out with a barrage of blows.
The first 30 seconds of the contest were relatively slow and quiet. The remaining five or so minutes were anything but. As Sosa circled, Gonzalez stalked, cutting off the ring and not allowing his rival a moment of rest. Once he found his punching range, it was just a matter of time, Chocolatito signaling his intent with a pair of wicked left hooks, the second of which caused Sosa to lift his right foot off the canvas. A right hand followed, landing cleanly and brutally. Then a furious flurry as Sosa retreated across the ring and into the ropes. The Mexican dropped to his knees under the onslaught, but only after a Gonzalez push down on his shoulders. Somehow, Sosa found the resolve to fight back, but the Gonzalez offense in full flight is a beautiful thing, and the Nicaraguan time and again reset his feet into the perfect position from which to launch exceptional combinations, wasting barely a solitary punch as he laid waste to Sosa’s body and head.
Sosa survived the first round; he would not make it out of the second. From the outset, Gonzalez targeted Sosa’s head and body without mercy until a crunching right hand caused Sosa to stagger sideways and down for the first official knockdown. He beat the count, and Gonzalez pursued him into a corner, where he unleashed another savage combination, punctuated by another right that put Sosa down again. One more time, Sosa hauled himself to his feet, but Gonzalez (43-0, 37 KOs) would not be denied. He pinned Sosa to the ropes, assaulted him brutally with a blistering flurry, and when Sosa fell for the third time, referee Raul Caiz Sr waved it off without a count.
“With the grace of God and through my training with [late compatriot and Hall-of-Famer] Alexis Arguello, I was able to put on a performance like this,” Gonzalez said. “I am so happy to be here on HBO. I’m very happy with my performance. He was a tough fighter, but my power made the difference.”
“He's good,” Sosa acknowledged. “He surprised me, but he’s a very good fighter. I can’t tell if he’s the best because it only went two rounds. If the fight had gone longer, I would know more.”
The fact that it didn’t underlines just how good Gonzalez is. So good, in fact, that his first HBO fight surely won’t be his last.