In a bout that should surely be on shortlists for 2016 Fight of the Year, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (46-0, 38 KOs) exited a dramatic technical battle against Carlos Cuadras (35-1-1, 27 KOs) as a four-division champion and likely still the consensus pound-for-pound king of pugilism.
Many observers and fans considered Cuadras to be a pushover—someone who was a stepping stone for Gonzalez before super fights with fighters like Naoya Inoue and Juan Francisco Estrada loomed in the distance.
Cuadras ensured the Nicaraguan that he was no joke, coming out of the gate swinging back wildly against Chocolatito’s intense pressure tactics.
When Gonzalez seemed to have Cuadras pinned against the ropes, Cuadras fired back making certain that Gonzalez wouldn’t overstep his boundaries.
By the middle rounds, both Cuadras and Gonzalez were ever so slightly painted with each other’s blood, and Gonzalez’s face swelled more than it has in any of his previous battles.
Neither man gave an inch as they rumbled to the final bell with the crowd at the Forum in Inglewood shaking the arena.
But Cuadras, who wanted to bring the newly crowned king of boxing’s reign to a screeching halt, failed to capture the throne due to his inability to hold off the pressure of the early and middle rounds.
The final scorecards read out a close unanimous decision for Gonzalez, who accomplished something his mentor Alexis Arguello never did by laying claim to a fourth weight division.
After the fight, Gonzalez noted just how hard the fight was.
“This is the most difficult fight I’ve ever had. More than Estrada… I’m always thinking about my family and my children. They gave me the courage to win this fight,” said Gonzalez.
HBO analyst Max Kellerman asked Gonzalez about a potential fight with Inoue to which Gonzalez said, “It would be my pleasure.”
Photos by Ed Mulholland/HBO
Christopher Nicastro is a hopeless boxing devotee and freelancer. You can follow him on Twitter @chris_nicastro.