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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson



Can ‘Chocolatito’ take Brian’s power?

By Joaquin Henson
PhilBoxing.com
16 Aug 2015



WBC flyweight champion Roman (Chocolatito) Gonzalez of Nicaragua is in for the biggest test of his career when he battles hard-hitting Brian Viloria in a 12-round title defense at the Madison Square Garden in New York City on Oct. 17.

Gonzalez’ ability to take a punch is a question mark because he’s never faced anyone with a big wallop like Viloria. There’s no question the Nicaraguan is a power puncher himself. His record of 43-0, with 37 KOs, is proof of that. But can he endure the impact of the Hawaiian Punch?

“I think his weakness is he hasn’t been tested by a puncher like myself and we’ll also have to see if he can withstand pressure,” Viloria told The Star via Instagram yesterday. “Without giving too much away, we just need to come in great shape and let my hands go.”

Viloria, 34, has won four in a row, three within the distance, since losing his WBA/WBO flyweight crowns to Mexico’s Juan Francisco Estrada by split decision in Macau two years ago. He’s also held the WBC/IBF lightlfyweight titles so walking around without a championship belt is an empty feeling. Viloria wants nothing more than to sit on the throne again.

“From the moment I wake up to even dreaming about the fight, it’s all I think of now,” said Viloria whose record is 36-4, with 22 KOs. “I’m pulling out all the stops to prepare for this. I’m bringing in strength and conditioning trainers and basically working hard in the gym like never before.”

Viloria said he’s aware of what Gonzalez brings to the ring. “I believe Gonzalez’ strength is he’s a very technical and well-schooled fighter,” he said. “He chooses his battles well and delivers his combinations crisp and methodically.” Gonzalez, 28, has won his last nine outings by knockout. Two of the nine knockout victims were Filipinos Rocky Fuentes and Juan Purisima. Estrada was the last fighter to go the distance with Gonzalez and lost a unanimous decision three years ago.

Viloria said he’s dedicating the fight to all his supporters, near and far, to his countrymen and family all over the world. The bout is coming down not only as Gonzalez’ biggest test but also the most exciting flyweight duel in decades. Gonzalez, like Floyd Mayweather, is chasing Rocky Marciano’s unbeaten record of 49-0. There’s also Ricardo Lopez’ record of 51-0-1 to pursue.

Viloria’s manager Gary Gittelsohn said it wasn’t easy negotiating the fight. “We’ve been trying for a couple of years now but like many things worth waiting for, it took a perfect alignment of the stars,” he said from his Los Angeles home. “First, after decades of ignoring the lower weight divisions, HBO PPV is now offering a platform to showcase this bout. Moreover, Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions, who has done such a marvellous job promoting Gennady Golovkin and others, had the right slot to place the fight and therefore, he was a key factor in sealing the deal.”

Gonzalez denied dodging Viloria and said he held out only for a bigger purse. The pressure to face Viloria took a toll on the Nicaraguan who finally agreed to terms. The fight will be in the undercard of Golovkin’s IBO/IBF/WBA middleweight title defense against Canada’s David Lemieux. Golovkin, 33, is from Kazakhstan and has a 33-0 record, with 30 KOs.

Gittelsohn said he’s confident Viloria will dethrone Gonzalez. “Brian has the speed, power and athleticism to beat Gonzalez,” he said. “We are preparing a first-class training camp and looking forward to Oct. 17. Brian was ‘over the moon’ when I shared the news of fighting Gonzalez with him. Like many athletes, Brian delivers his best performances when he faces big challenges.”

Clearly, Gonzalez will be Viloria’s toughest opponent ever and vice versa. Gonzalez is ranked No. 2 by the Ring Magazine in the top 10 pound-for-pound honor roll behind only Mayweather. Wladimir Klitschko is No. 3, Golovkin No. 4, Guillermo Rigondeaux is No. 5 and Manny Pacquiao No. 6.

Gonzalez has never been beaten either as an amateur with 88 fights or professional. He’s won world titles in three divisions. Last May, Gonzalez took only two rounds to dispose of Mexico’s Edgar Sosa who beat Viloria by a majority decision in 2007. He’s considered Nicaragua’s second greatest fighter ever after Alexis Arguello.

“I feel so special to even be compared to Alexis Arguello because of the legacy that he left,” said Gonzalez quoted by Mark Butcher in Boxing Monthly. “I feel blessed that we can even be put in the same category but I know he was a better fighter than me. It is a big happiness that people compare me to him and it was a blessing that he took the time to show me how to box.” It was Arguello who discovered Gonzalez during an amateur show he used to stage every 15 days in Nicaragua and took “Chocolatito” under his wings. Gonzalez’ manager Carlos Blandon said, “Arguello showed Roman how to train, he saw a diamond in the rough and he was able to polish him … Arguello was the one who really made Roman Gonzalez.”


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