Roman Gonzalez hopes to have more career chapters written

By Oscar Pick

A WITCH will never reveal their secrets. Once they perform a magic trick, leaving the audience gasping and, simply, in awe of their cleverness, there is no need to keep the curtain raised; their job, quite clearly, is done.

In fact, any form of explanation after such a comprehensive performance would only destroy their mystique. And it is this mystique, after all, that allows them to deliver a spectacle that evokes both awe and curiosity, always leaving something to the imagination.

When you consider this, it’s fair to say that Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez – a generational talent and a truly formidable opponent who shows little sign of slowing down – is nothing short of a magician, with every jaw-dropping move coming from a seemingly endless bag of tricks.

Returning to the ring for his 56th timeth In his upcoming bout, the former pound-for-pound champion will take on Colombia’s Rober Barrera in a 10-round bantamweight bout this Friday (July 12).

The pair will face off in Managua, Nicaragua, with Chocolatito headlining in his home country for the first time since 2015.

However, when looking at Gonzalez’s extraordinary career from an objective perspective, without rosy or harsh criticism, the result of this weekend’s match seems relatively unimportant.

Most importantly, through his superb performances, the Nicaraguan has captivated fans for nearly two decades, bringing excitement to lower leagues that, without him, might still be starving for attention.

Roman Gonzalez

Ed Mulholland/The Game Room

But what is the secret behind his longevity? How has he stood the test of time when others of his weight have either fallen victim to wear and tear or chosen to retire after turning 30?

Well, his style is an obvious place to start. First of all, it’s important to emphasize that Chocolatito is not and never has been the most athletically gifted fighter.

While 80 percent of his wins come from knockouts, the 37-year-old is best known for stopping opponents with methodical strikes rather than explosive counters or sharp bursts of attack.

He is a master at slowing down the pace of a fight, giving himself more time to unleash a series of attacks.

Then, as his opponent began to retreat, Gonzalez began to increase the pressure by blocking his opponent’s attacks – using his superior footwork – before beating them with a series of strikes.

By being aware of his limitations, the four-division world champion can use his command of the ring, control of range and timing to negate any physical advantage other fighters may have.

Furthermore, with less emphasis on speed, his aging body was equipped to punch smoothly and accurately, eliminating the need to make quick twitch movements to land powerful punches.

Aside from his style, Chocolatito could have extended the final years of his career by competing in more comfortable weight classes.

It’s no secret that, for any fighter, weight loss can be the most difficult aspect of their training camp. The mental strength required to get through the grueling process of shedding every ounce of water from your body is something most people can relate to.

Gonzalez won his first world title at the minimum weight when he was just 22. While the 105-pound limit may have suited him at the time, he would never stay in that weight class for more than two years.

Indeed, his most notable victories – as well as a fascinating trio of victories with Juan Francisco Estrada – came when he moved up to a higher weight class, where despite his slight build, his body was never depleted by the harsh weight cut.

Roman Gonzalez

Tom Hogan/K2

Now, Chocolatito has the chance to become a five-weight world champion, an incredible feat that would eclipse anyone with a wand and a cloak.

So while his greatness has been recognized, there may still be many pages, even chapters, of his remarkable story yet to be written.


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