Photo: Will Hart
Consensus No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter and WBC Super Flyweight champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (46-0-0, 38 KOs), fighting out of Managua, Nicaragua, will defend his title against mandatory challenger Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (41-4-1, 38 KOs) of Si Sa Ket, Thailand, on Saturday, March 18 at Madison Square Garden.
Chocolatito vs. Rungvisai will be the co-feature to the World Middleweight championship between Unified Middleweight World champ Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (36-0-0, 33 KOs) and WBA Middleweight World champ and mandatory challenger Daniel “The Miracle Man” Jacobs (32-1, 29 KOs). The event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT
“I’m very excited to fight again at Madison Square Garden,” said Gonzalez. “Rungvisai is a very tough fight for me, I know that he has fought many other great fighters including Carlos Cuadras, but with my training and the blessing of God I plan to come out victorious.”
Said Rungvisai: “I respect Roman Gonzalez. He is a legend. However, super flyweight is my weight. And the WBC Super Flyweight World title belt is my belt. I will do whatever it takes to win my belt back, and I am confident I can do it. I was able to hurt Carlos Cuadras in the way that Gonzalez could not. Cuadras did not hurt me when we fought but he hurt Gonzalez throughout their fight last year. I am confident I can beat Roman Gonzalez. And the fight will not go 12 rounds.
“It is my dream to fight at Madison Square Garden,” continued Rungvisai. “I am thrilled to be the first Thai to fight there on HBO Pay-Per-View against the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. This is history. I will fight for Thailand and my family. I will fight to bring back the WBC Superflyweight belt to Thailand where it belongs. Some fans in America might not know me well, but I have knockout power and I will go there to win. I cannot be more excited to show you and the world who Srisaket Sor Rungvisai is. It will be a great fight on March 18th. "
This past September 10, the 29-year-old Gonzalez faced the biggest challenge of his career, squaring off against undefeated WBC Super Flyweight champ Carlos Cuadras as he sought his fourth divisional world title. In a 2016 “Fight of the Year” candidate in front of a very large and passionate crowd at The Fabulous Forum in Los Angeles, Gonzalez won a 12-round unanimous decision.
The victory, dedicated to Gonzalez’s mentor, boxing legend Alexis Arguello, distinguished Gonzalez as the first fighter from Nicaragua to earn four divisional world titles and further validated his status as the consensus No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter.
On October 17, 2015, Gonzalez made his debut at “The World’s Most Famous Arena” knocking out four-division world champion Brian Viloria in the ninth round in front of a sold-out Madison Square Garden crowd and live on HBO Pay-Per-View. The victory took place on the undercard to the World Middleweight Championship between Golovkin and David Lemieux.
The heavy-handed Rungvisai, 30, will be fighting for the first time in the United States. A four-time world title challenger, Rungvisai challenged then-WBC Super Flyweight champ Carlos Cuadras on May 31, 2014. In an action-packed battle featuring excellent two-way action, Rungvisai was the unfortunate victim of a shortened bout as Cuadras was deemed unable to continue after the eighth round following an accidental clash of heads between the two warriors. Going to the scorecards, Rungvisai came up just short with Cuadras retaining his title.