Gonzalez fights for bigger stage, bigger checks against Arroyo, HBO Saturday

Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez should remain boxing’s top pound for pound rankings after his ring appearance Saturday, and he hopes it pays off.

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Roman Gonzalez (left) and McWilliams Arroyo pose at their weigh-in Friday on the outdoor stage at The Forum in Los Angeles. Photo: Chris Farina, K2 Promotions
Roman Gonzalez (left) and McWilliams Arroyo pose at their weigh-in Friday on the outdoor stage at The Forum in Los Angeles. Photo: Chris Farina, K2 Promotions

SAN DIEGO, April 22, 2016 – Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (44-0, 38 KOs) of Nicaragua puts his WBC flyweight title belt and status as boxing’s top pound for pound fighter on the line Saturday at The Forum in Los Angeles against McWilliams Arroyo of Puerto Rico (16-2, 14 KOs).

Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez waves to fans at the weigh-in Friday in Los Angeles. Photo: Chris Farina, K2 Promotions
Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez waves to fans at the weigh-in Friday in Los Angeles. Photo: Chris Farina, K2 Promotions

The risk is relative. While all opponents have a chance in theory, Gonzalez should not be seriously challenged by Arroyo, who will be fighting for the first time in over a year in front of a partisan Los Angeles crowd cheering for the Nicaraguan star. Arroyo’s layoff came after several opportunities for match ups fell through.

It will be Arroyo’s second attempt to win a title. He lost a split decision to Amnat Ruenroeng of Thailand three years ago for the IBF featherweight title, a fight many observers believe he won. Arroyo has a solid amateur background, and appeared in the 2008 Beijing Olympics for Puerto Rico.

“I know I had good moments in the ring (against Ruenroeng),” said Arroyo. “If we fought in a different territory, I know that it would have been different because he was holding throughout the fight and I couldn’t do a lot of things. But I don’t have any excuses. It is already by me.”

McWilliams Arroyo says he is well prepared for his bout with Roman Gonzalez Saturday.
McWilliams Arroyo says he is well prepared for his bout with Roman Gonzalez Saturday.

Arroyo says he is driven by Gonzalez’s top status, not intimidated. “Having thoughts that some think I can’t beat him motivates me even more. At the end of the day the best man will win.

“I missed out on my first opportunity at a world title but that doesn’t mean I can’t make it now. It is a dream come true to finally fight on HBO. I am ready and on the 23rd, the best man will win. I know it’s going to be a hard fight and the fans are going to be the ones to enjoy it.”

Gonzalez has been training in Costa Rica due to the distractions of his fame in his native Nicaragua. Asked his reaction to being considered the world’s pound for pound best fighter, he said,It is a big blessing. I have trained very hard. I feel like I have trained enough to win. I train for my family and for my country.  It is a big motivation to be number one and be able to maintain that.”

Unlike many of the top fighters and despite his impressive knockout rate, Gonzalez says he doesn’t ever look for one. “I have never said that I am going to knock an opponent out. I am going to give my best and I am going to pay attention to my corner and if the knockout comes, then I welcome it but I am not looking for the knockout.”

Gonzalez is among boxing’s most active punchers per round and also one of the most accurate, coming at his opponents nonstop. They have little time to attack due to the onslaught from Gonzalez. When they do move forward, Gonzalez’s defensive skills are nearly as outstanding as his offensive skills. He does not waste a bit of effort. He is a surgeon in the ring, and while Arroyo presents some resistance, Gonzalez should give his growing fan base another thrill.

Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez hopes to headline his own main event after Saturday's appearance in Los Angeles Saturday. Photo: Will Hart HBO
Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez hopes to headline his own main event after Saturday’s appearance in Los Angeles Saturday. Photo: Will Hart HBO

The pairing of Gonzalez with Golovkin in their last two fights has been a net positive all around. Nicknamed the “Big Drama Show” and “Little Drama Show,” the pair sold out Madison Square Garden last October, and have the potential for another sellout at The Forum Saturday. After this, Gonzalez hopes to be the headline champion in a main event of his own the next time he steps in the ring.

Gonzalez also hopes to increase the size of his paycheck, a challenge for boxing champions in the lighter weight classes who are rarely the marquee fighter, especially in the United States. American junior flyweight Michael Carbajal broke the $1 million paycheck barrier in 1993; very few have seen those numbers again. Gonzalez will make $300,000 Saturday; Arroyo $75,000. Compare this to $2 million for Golovkin in the main event and $500,000 by his challenger Dominic Wade who is far less accomplished than Gonzalez.

“Yes, due to the fact of my weight class, the purses are not as high,” said Gonzalez. “I do believe that after this fight, where Arroyo and I will give such a great fight, that soon I will be receiving the purses that I deserve.

“I know that after that fight there will be a lot higher purses and bigger fights and that motivates me,” said Gonzalez. “I will find that out on Saturday. It could be very hard.  It could be very easy. I do not know. I know he (Arroyo) is a warrior, but I will find out if it will be the hardest fight on Saturday.”

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan 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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