Often times in the sports world, you come across athletes who are a special talent and we don’t necessarily give them their “just do” when you are seeing the apex of their talents but instead wait years later to mention how great they were.
Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (48-2) is a certified first ballot Hall of Famer and will go down as one of, if not the, best that ever did it from the minimum weight class through superfly weight. In case you don’t know, he is the first fighter from Nicaragua to win world titles in four weight classes and also the first boxer in history to win world titles in all four of the lowest weight classes.
On February 29th in Frisco, Texas under the Mikey Garcia versus Jesse Vargas main event, Roman Gonzalez will be looking to win his fifth world title as he faces WBA Super Flyweight champion Khalid Yafai (26-0; age 30).
After suffering back to back losses to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (43-4-1) and later injuring his knee, most thought “Chocolatito” was going to hang up the gloves but the 32 year old decided not to and after a tune up fight with Diomel Diocos (14-5-3) in December, he feels more than ready for this title shot.
I checked in with Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez during his training camp in Coachella, CA as we approach fight night in a couple of weeks.
AG: Due to your injured knee at the time, we saw you fight only once in 2018 and in 2019. How is your knee feeling now especially after such a quick turn-around from your last fight as it was only 2 months ago?
RG: I feel good and I am very happy for this opportunity to fight for a world title. We have trained really well to be able to have an excellent fight.
AG: In the last two years, you have called for this fight against Yafai. What is it about this fight that intrigues you so much?
RG: To be honest, it’s a fight that not only did I want but also Yafai did as well for a while now. I want to thank Mr. Honda for making the fight as we have done a great job in preparing for it.
AG: How did the fight against Yafai come about? Did his team reach out to you or did you actively seek the title fight?
RG: Originally, Yafai was supposed to fight “Gallo” Estrada but when that fight fell through due to Estrada injuring his hand, Yafai’s team reached out to Mr. Honda shortly after my fight in December. The call was to explore the possibility of me fighting in a quick turn around for a world title. Once it was presented to me, we jumped at the opportunity to fight for the title.
AG: At this point in your career, what is your motivation to keep going as a fighter?
RG: The biggest motivation for me is my kids. We are very pleased with all of the work done throughout the years and winning another title is just as significant for my family and me.
AG: In a perfect world, what are some of the things left to accomplish as a fighter before exploring the idea of retiring?
RG: To be honest, the last thing for me to accomplish would be to win a fifth world title.
AG: Not only do Nicaraguans love you but also people from all over the world. How does it make you feel when they call you the people’s champ?
RG: It makes me feel great inside that I am able to connect with people and the youth in that fashion especially since you want to do your best when representing your country.
AG: With all things considered, how many times can fans expect you to climb into the ring this year?
RG: When getting ready for a fight, it’s a lot of work but it all depends on God’s plan.
AG: Is there anything you would like to tell the fans that are reading this and are going to tune in on February 29th as you try to win yet another world title?
RG: Tune into my fight in February and I hope you enjoy it. I am very happy, it’s going to be a tremendous fight and good things will come in the future once I’m victorious. May God bless you all and that all of your dreams come true this year.
AG: Where can the fans follow you on social media?
Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez is a living legend, it’s no stretch to opine he should have won the “Fighter of the Decade” award for his accomplishments during so much of the 2010s.
Can the thirty-two year old from Nicaragua turn in the type of performance that earns him his fifth world title or will the champion from the United Kingdom end up being too much to handle?
Styles make fights and this one has all the makings of a classic so ensure you tune into DAZN on February 29th to see this exciting matchup.