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Gonzalez Martinez preview: Scale slip-up in San Diego threatens card

Written By | Mar 5, 2022
Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez isn't facing the opponent he originally expect in San Diego on Saturday, March 5. Photo: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom. Gonzalez Martinez 2

Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez isn’t facing the opponent he originally expect in San Diego on Saturday, March 5. Photo: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom.

BREAKING NEWS: Julio Cesar Martinez successfully made the weight rehydration limit on Saturday morning in San Diego, and the main event will proceed as planned.

SAN DIEGO, Calif. March 5, 2022 – When the March 5 trilogy bout between super flyweights Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez and Juan Francisco “El Gallo” Estrada fell victim to COVID-19, boxing fans around the world were disappointed. None more than the fans on both sides of the border in San Diego and Tijuana, who don’t get many world-class cards at home.

World flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez of Mexico City (18-1, 14 KOs) swooped in like a superhero to save the day, agreeing to move up in weight to face the future Hall of Fame fighter Gonzalez. But when Gonzalez blew through the 115-pound weight limit on the scale Friday at 116.4 pounds, hearts sank once more.

Roman Gonzalez and Julio Cesar Martinez pose after their weigh-in Friday. Martinez came in over the 115 pound limit at 116.4 pounds. Photo: Melina Pizano/Matchroom. Gonzalez Martinez Preview

Roman Gonzalez and Julio Cesar Martinez pose after their weigh-in Friday. Martinez came in over the 115-pound limit at 116.4 pounds. Photo: Melina Pizano/Matchroom.

The fight between Gonzalez of Nicaragua (49-4, 41 KOs) and Martinez will move forward, but Martinez must weigh within 10 percent of his Friday weight on  Saturday morning at 126.4 pounds or under. For the trouble, his wallet is lighter. Martinez was fined $50,000 of his $250,000 purse, half going to Gonzalez and half to the California State Athletic Commission. Gonzalez earns a $725,000 purse before the fine. There is a WBC Diamond Super Flyweight title on the line for Gonzalez only. The main card airs on DAZN starting at 8:30 pm ET/5:30 pm PT.

Julio Cesar Martinez must stay within a 10 percent rehydration limit before his fight with Roman Gonzalez Saturday. Photo: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom. Gonzalez Martinez 2

Before his fight with Roman Gonzalez Saturday, Julio Cesar Martinez must stay within a 10 percent rehydration limit. Photo: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom.

Does this favor the veteran volume puncher Gonzalez, slowing down Martinez? Or is it a calculated move to maximize power punching behind the Mexican challenger’s heavy hands?  As long as the fight takes place, the fans will take it.




Gonzalez: ‘The fans are going to be really happy’

Roman Gonzalez salutes his fans at Friday's weigh-in. Photo: Gayle Lynn Falkenthal for Communities Digital News

Roman Gonzalez salutes his fans at Friday’s weigh-in. Photo: Gayle Lynn Falkenthal for Communities Digital News

“When they offered me that fight, I accepted it with pleasure,” said Gonzalez. “We’re in excellent in condition. Thank God for my training team and camp. I’m hoping to God we walk away with our hand raised in victory.

“I have an opponent that comes forward but I’m going to come forward, it’s going to be a tremendous fight and I think the fans are going to be really happy with the fight.”

Martinez: ‘With everything but fear’

“I want to thank him for choosing us in this big fight,” said Martinez. “Like I say, with everything but fear, anywhere and against anyone. I want to wish that we both come out well from the fight God willing and to keep making history – this is just the start.”

Despite being seven years younger at age 27. Martinez will be challenged to keep up with the veteran. Gonzalez is first among all active boxers for punches thrown per round (87.7), power punches thrown (65.7), and power shots landed (27.6) among all active boxers.  In his second bout with Estrada, the pair combined for 705 punches landed of a combined 2,529 punches thrown.

The majority of fans present at Friday’s weigh-in were cheering on Julio Cesar Martinez, many of them from Tijuana. Photo: Melina Pizano/Matchroom.

Friday’s weigh-in was packed, with more locals cheering on the Mexican challenger, although the Nicaraguan multi-division former champion doesn’t lack support. Count on a crowd worthy of the action at the Pechanga Arena.

Gonzalez is a slight betting favorite, enjoying a second act in his impressive career. He knows how to win, and while the single punch lights-out power isn’t there, the all-out offensive onslaught is overwhelming for anyone. Martinez would be wise to try and avoid a war, pinpointing Gonzalez to the body. Estrada landed the harder shots in his fight with Gonzalez, but Gonzalez visibly hurt Estrada several times.

Roman Gonzalez is a sure lock for the Hall of Fame and can hold his head high after Saturday’s performance. Photo: Ed Mulholland, Matchroom Boxing

The enthusiasm for this matchup is high, fueled by the unknowns. We’re calling it for the veteran Gonzalez, who has settled in with trainer Marcos Caballero and who barely lost to Estrada in peak form.

Gonzalez has nothing left to prove. He was written off after his knockout loss to Rungvisai. Against Estrada, Chocolatito looked as good as he did a decade ago when he was on top of the pound-for-pound list. To maintain this level Saturday in San Diego seals a first-ballot lock for the Hall of Fame.

The cross-border crowd in San Diego will be pleased with the undercard full of Mexican and Mexican American talent.

Promoter Eddie Hearn had to move in to split up Mauricio Lara (left) and Emilio Sanchez. PHoto: Gayle Lynn Falkenthal for Communities Digital News

Promoter Eddie Hearn had to move in to split up Mauricio Lara (left) and Emilio Sanchez. Photo: Gayle Lynn Falkenthal for Communities Digital News

Featherweight Mauricio Lara of Mexico City (23-2-1, 16 KOs) sent a shockwave through boxing when he knocked out Josh Warrington. He will face Emilio Sanchez of Los Angeles (19-1. 12 KOs). In his first fight in the U.S. Lightweight sensation, Angel Fierro of Tijuana (19-1-1 15 KOs) meets veteran and fellow Tijuana resident Juan Carlos Burgos (34-6-2, 21 KOs). Fierro was a last-minute replacement when he drilled former champion, Alberto Machado, in six rounds. This could threaten to steal the show.

Angel Fierro and Juan Carlos Burgos will battle for Tijuana bragging rights in San Diego, Photo: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom.

Opening the DAZN broadcast at 8:30 pm ET/5:30 pm PT, super welterweight Souleymane Cissokho of France faces Roberto Valenzuela Jr. of Mexico via Cameroon.

Super middleweight prospect Diego Pacheco fights for the first time with new trainer Jose Benavidez Jr. Photo: Gayle Lynn Falkenthal for Communities Digital News

Super middleweight prospect Diego Pacheco fights for the first time with new trainer Jose Benavidez Jr. Photo: Gayle Lynn Falkenthal for Communities Digital News

In early bouts staring at 6:10 pm ET/3:10 pm PT, Australian Olympian Skye Nicolson makes her pro debut against undefeated Jessica Sanchez of San Diego at super-featherweight. Promising lightweight prospect Marc Castro of Fresno faces Julio Madera of Mexico City. Undefeated Super middleweight Diego Pacheco looks to make a big impression in his first fight working with trainer Jose Benavidez Jr. against Genc Pilana of Maryland. It’s a shame in particular Pacheco, a good-looking power puncher with ten knockouts in 13 fights from Los Angeles who’s been training in San Diego, isn’t on the main card.



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Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.

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Copyright © 2022

Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, MS, APR, is President of the Falcon Valley Group, a San Diego based communications consulting firm. Falkenthal is a veteran award-winning broadcast and print journalist, editor, producer, talk host and commentator. She is an instructor at National University in San Diego, and previously taught in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University.