“Made You Look”
Nas, circa 2002
I started imagining the crazy bastard who runs the fictional “Daily Bugle” from Spiderman and how he might decide to title this one: “PAC-MAN GOBBLES CHOCOLATITO!”; or maybe, “HOT CHOCOLATITO DROWNS PAC-MAN!”. Either way you slice it, this fight would be cake that leaves you caught up in a web of entertainment– regardless of the victor.
But that’s perception coming from a very imaginative mind.
In reality, Pacquiao V Gonzalez only lives in the realm of a fantasy based artificial reality, where fans can hypothesize about a result for fun. What we saw on Saturday, March 18 from Madison Square Garden between Roman Gonzalez and Srisaket sor Rungvisai in a non-Matrix, was something we can hypothesize about for real.
Partnered in a glass enclosed MSG upper-tier box office suite with Xavier Porter from Brooklyn Boxing (who somewhat prophetically proclaimed before the opening bell that Gonzalez “is going to lose”), I sat somewhat surprised by a first round knockdown of Choco and the torrid pace set by SsR. Prior to the fight, I’d studied enough film on SsR to know that stylistically he would be peanut butter to Choco’s jelly.
My notes on SsR V Chocolatito read like this:
SsR reminds me – somewhat – of Manny Pacquiao as a lightweight. He offers sensational machine gun fire with limited mobility. Stiff upper body movement and heavy feet in contrast to Manny. Very, very strong flyweight. Physically stronger than Roman. Choco is coming with (I gotta drop this) a modern Gatling Gun that rotates from everywhere. As soon as both men empty magazines they reload. This could potentially be the Fight of The Year. The pound-for-pound champ isn’t a big hitter at super flyweight. Could prove to matter. In the end, Choco, inspired by the recent loss of his trainer, will prevail with either volume to get a late TKO, or a comfortable decision.
Turns out I was pretty damn close to what actually transpired.
From these optics, Roman Gonzalez did in fact win a via comfortable UD. It was a bloody affair with intense give and take and a tremendous action fight. It’s still early in 2017, but this fight should be in the running for FOTY after 2017 hits the record books. It was that good, and even better after another screening. Unofficially, I thought Chocolatito won at least 4 of the next 5 rounds after the first round and was dominant down the stretch. I thought he won all of the championship rounds and nullified the knockdown with the point deduction SsR was charged with after excessive head-butting that caused so much blood from Choco.
I had it 115-112 Roman Gonzalez.
In retrospect, it’s a shame that the “Fall of Roman” comes at a time when he never really received recognition for how truly great he was (and still is). The epic encounter with a great Juan Francisco Estrada solidified his greatness in my book. Because of the great Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, who both operated at glamorous welterweight, it was easy to overlook Chocolatitio, but he may have been better than both of them from 2013-2015.
Still, at just under 30, Chocolatito is now a study of attrition and past his prime. The Cuadras fight (and now this one) revealed the mortality and shelf life expiration date of one of the greatest fighters to have ever lived. Along with Ricardo Lopez, Gonzalez is arguably the greatest flyweight ever. A debatable 46-1 cannot change that. Fight on he will– and it says here that he’ll defeat SsR in a rematch. But if Naoya Inoue looms (and he does), that is the fight where faded glory would surface. Inoue would brutally stop the 2017 version of Chocolatito.
*** *** ***
And for the record (and to be fair), Manny was not a great flyweight at all. He was a padawan of great desire with raw ability, who learned how to be great in other divisions as a result of seeing great speed at flyweight. But he was a starving teenager/early 20’something of green ability at flyweight who became a world champion as a result of will.
The greatness in Manny didn’t surface until super-bantamweight, where Lehlo Ledwaba painfully found out he was in with a future legend. No version of Roman Gonzalez could deal with Manny there, just as Pacquiao never would’ve wanted it with Chocolatito at flyweight.