Roman Gonzalez Delivers Masterful Performance in San Diego
SAN DIEGO, Calif., March 6. 2022 – One day, Julio Cesar Martinez will tell his grandchildren he shared a boxing ring once in San Diego with the greatest small division fighter of the modern era, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez. Fans who were there will also tell their grandchildren about it.
Super flyweight Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez of Nicaragua produced perhaps his best performance ever at 115 pounds, winning an impressive unanimous decision over world flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez of Mexico (18-2, 14 KOs).
The 34-year-old Gonzalez, the only person to win championships in boxing’s four smallest weight divisions, was too skilled, too fast, and too nimble for the 27-year-old Martinez. There was no doubt about the winner when the final bell sounded. Scorecards read 118-110, 117-111, and 116-112. CommDigiNews had it scored 119-109.
Martinez took the fight on short notice when the original opponent, Juan Francisco Estrada of Mexico, bowed out due to falling ill with COVID-19. The support of the crowd, including boxing’s biggest star, Mexican countryman Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, who lives and trains in San Diego, may have kept Martinez going. Still, it couldn’t compensate for Martinez’s inexperience compared to the veteran champion Gonzalez.
“Salutations to everyone. I hope you had a great night,” Gonzalez said to the crowd after the fight. “My corner told me not to give him any rounds. When I felt that I had him, that’s when I needed to pressure him, and that’s what I did.
“He took a lot of punches. I’m very surprised, that indicates he comes in really great condition,” said Gonzalez of his opponent.
Martinez initially missed making weight Friday but fell within the rehydration limit on Saturday. It fueled concerns Martinez might have done so deliberately to give him an edge on the older Gonzalez despite being the naturally smaller fighter. He had a solid first round, the only round NYFights.com gave to the challenger.
But from the second round forward, Gonzalez controlled the fight with nonstop volume power punching, impressive accuracy, and the most power Gonzalez has shown in the 115-pound division, not considered his strongest division.
Gonzalez picked Martinez apart, with repeated hard right and left hooks, hard pops from body shots, and quality uppercuts when Gonzalez came within range. Martinez marshaled what offense he could, but Gonzalez evaded many of the punches and caught others with his gloves. Martinez isn’t quite as fast as he once was, but he could catch Martinez with counterpunches.
‘Incredible performance of a pound-for-pound legend’
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn said he was pleased with the results of the organization’s first event in San Diego. “I want to thank everyone in San Diego for the incredible atmosphere.
That was just an incredible performance of a pound-for-pound legend,” said Hearn of Gonzalez. “He just seems to be getting better and better.”
Gonzalez says he isn’t sure when he will retire or who he’ll fight next. He believes the only fighter he’s ever truly lost to is Srisikat Sor Rungvisai of Thailand. The trilogy bout with Juan Francisco Estrada is even juicier now after Saturday’s performance. Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez is the bright young thing in the division but may want to take more fights at 108 and 112 pounds.
Martinez can return to his natural division at 112 pounds, where he still holds a world title. And he can always tell his children and grandchildren years from now that he once shared a ring with the great Hall of Fame fighter Roman “Chocolatito”
Undercard results: Wins for Lara, Fierro, Cissokho, Pacheco, Carlos, and Nicolson
Featherweight Mauricio Lara of Mexico City (24-2-1, 17 KOs) came out at the opening bell like he was shot out of a cannon. He took down a tough Emilio Sanchez of Los Angeles (19-2 12 KOs) with nine nonstop minutes of action, winning by knockout at 2:59 of the third round. Lara’s best weapon is an accurate right hook, but he mixes in a left hook to the body that his opponents think is coming to the head. A right hook scored a knockdown in the first round, and Lara nearly did it again at the end of the second. Credit to Sanchez for lasting as long as he did and having brief moments of success on the inside with uppercut combinations. Even though the fans only got to see him for three rounds, they didn’t mind one bit.
Lightweight sensation Angel Fierro of Tijuana (19-1-2 15 KOs) got a career-building experience from veteran and fellow Tijuana resident Juan Carlos Burgos (34-6-3, 21 KOs) fighting to a majority draw. Fierro stayed patient and wary of Burgos’ accurate body punching and ring IQ. It may not have been thrilling, but it will pay off for Fierro as his career advances. Burgos gives honest effort, and skill, and the veteran will always be welcome in the ring.
Super welterweight Souleymane Cissokho of France via Senegal dispatched Roberto Valenzuela Jr. of Mexico by lopsided scorecards of 100-90 X 2 and 99-91. It was a fight where both fighters were knocked down but in the same round. Ciosssokho was the one who gathered his wits and put it to Valenzuela.
Undefeated super middleweight Diego Pacheco of Los Angeles made a big impression with a second-round knockout win over Genc Pilana of Maryland. Pacheco, age 20, is a good-looking power puncher with ten knockouts in 13 fights who is now training in San Diego.
Australian Olympian Skye Nicolson made a successful pro debut against previously undefeated Jessica Sanchez of San Diego at super featherweight by unanimous decision. Scores were 60-54 X 2 and 59-53. Nicolson made her first ringwalk to “New Sensation” by Australian rock band INXS.
Lightweight prospect Marc Castro of Fresno (6-0, 5 KOs) hit the canvas courtesy a left hook from Julio Madera of Mexico City (3-2, 2 KOs) in round two. It was the first knockdown of Castro’s pro career and his first bout to go the distance. Judges scored it 58-55 on all cards for Castro (6-0, 5 KOs). Both men delivered an all-out war, with Castro gradually taking control, rewarding fans who arrived early.
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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