The sport of boxing is heating back up and in “the city that never sleeps” there are still fighters that are trying to stay busy and ready as they await that phone call for a fight.
Frank Sinatra famously sang, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere,” which brings me to the fighter that is the subject of this piece.
Jose ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez (15-0-2) is an undefeated Super Bantamweight fighter out of Harlem, NY. The nickname may sound familiar to you and it should, as he is the cousin of the legendary Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez.
I checked in with him to get to know him, his family ties with boxing and the unique job he has to maintain financial stability.
AG: Jose, thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Can you give the readers a quick bio blast on where you are from and what it was like growing up?
JG: I’m from Harlem, NY and grew up with both of my parents. My father is from Nicaragua and my mother is Dominican. I come from a fighting family from my father’s side. I have two cousins that are boxing champions. One is a former champion (Cristofer ‘El Latigo’ Rosales) while the other is a current champion (Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez). I was born on 145th street and Lexington, then I was raised on 116th street and Morningside Park. I just love it in Harlem as they show me so much love and support.
AG: You spent a short amount of time through the amateur system. What would you say are some of the learning lessons if any, from that experience?
JG: I didn’t really have an amateur background. I started out in the amateurs when I was around fifteen. I didn’t have many amateur fights but I would fight with all of the top guys. After turning open once I hit ten fights, I would go out to California and fight guys like Karlos Balderas. I would always have close fights with the top guys but I would always lose because of my lack of experience. I was still able to gain a lot of experience from it. Fighting those guys in the amateurs gave me confidence that I could hang with those guys.
AG: What is your current promotional status?
JG: I was signed to Top Rank but I left and started to do my own thing. Once I left Top Rank, it was a little difficult to find fights. My father and a partner started a promotional company, so we are working on that. My father Martin and my managers, Sean McHugh & Chris Schoewe, all have a lot of connections and know how to move me. The pace isn’t fast, but it is going good for me.
AG: Being that you are a prospect who is working independently, how else do you support yourself financially?
JG: I work part time on the New York Stock Exchange. I work there with my manager Sean, who is a stockbroker. He is the boss of a firm. I also work there with my sponsor Trade Zero, which offers a commission-free trading platform. I work there and then go to the gym, which is how I make a living. The environment is amazing because I am the only boxer that works at the Stock Exchange. I just want to thank my manager for putting me on to that and showing me another path. He showed me how to invest and learn about stocks and numbers.
AG: You recently won the WBC Latino Super Bantamweight title. What was the reaction amongst your co-workers there at the stock exchange?
JG: Everyone was happy for me and taking pictures. They were all showing me love and are always supporting me. Once the MSG opens back up, I will have that place packed with everyone from the stock exchange.
AG: Moving back to boxing, for those that have never seen you fight, can you describe your style?
JG: I’m a southpaw and a counter puncher but I can also fight on the inside. My main thing is to just box.
AG: Which gym do you train out of in New York and what is the atmosphere like in that specific place?
JG: Depending on the fight, I’ll have my camp here, in Nicaragua, or if Roman is fighting, wherever he is having his camp. When in NYC, I train out of Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn. Training at Gleason’s is amazing as it is one of the world’s oldest gyms. There are also a few fighters that my father trains that work out in there, too.
AG: What’s next for you?
JG: I’m not too sure but something soon should come up. I’m ready whenever because I’m ready to get inside the ring.
AG: Your cousin Roman has a huge fight on Saturday night. I hear you are flying to Dallas to support him. What is your prediction for the fight?
JG: It's a tough fight but I think my cousin can pull it off. He throws more punches and knows how to cut the ring off really well. I think it will go to the distance but if not, he will stop him in the 10th round.
AG: Where can fans follow you on social media?
My Three Cents: Jose ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez is a fighter that is trying to make a name for himself within the boxing game by betting on himself. It’s the long and unpopular route of chasing a title but he seems to be heading in the right direction. He is also ensuring that he invests in his future because we all know that boxing isn’t forever, so a good financial plan is extremely important. Keep an eye on this super bantamweight and see if the odds turn in his favor to make it independently to a world title.