Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez is scheduled to rematch current WBC 115 lbs champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai on September 9th.
In a week in which UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson let loose a claim that Sean Shelby told him “smaller fighters don’t sell,” it appears as if HBO is going to have an event showcasing the world’s best 115 lbs boxers.
K2 Promotions’ Tom Loeffler told RingTV.com that Roman Gonzalez (46-1, 38 KOs) will have a rematch on Saturday, September 9th with Thailand’s Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (41-4-1, 38 KOs) for what is now Rungvisai’s WBC super-flyweight belt. The venue has yet to be finalized but it looks like it’s heading for Los Angeles, for “Chocolatito” has regularly featured over the past two years.
Gonzalez was considered by some outlets to be the #1 pound-for-pound boxer, having won major world titles in four weight classes (minimumweight, junior flyweight, flyweight, and super flyweight), but he suffered the first loss of his professional career in a controversial majority decision to Rungvisai. The Nicaraguan was knocked down in round 1, then engaged in an incredible back-and-forth struggle for the remainder of the action-packed fight, and was unlucky not to get the victory. Rungvisai was docked a point for headbutts, which opened up a cut over his right eye.
Historically, Gonzalez has been paired up with fellow K2 Promotions fighter Gennady Golovkin, serving as the co-main event on multiple HBO events, as well as both of Golovkin’s pay-per-views. Last year, Gonzalez headlined a show in Inglewood against Carlos Cuadras, but it was technically a split-site doubleheader with GGG vs. Kell Brook airing in the afternoon. This time around, Gonzalez will be competing a week before Golovkin takes on Canelo Alvarez.
While the main event is fantastic, what’s arguably more intriguing is the expected US debut of Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue (13-0, 11 KOs). He’s slated to be in the co-main event (opponent TBD), with his WBO 115 lbs title put on the line. Inoue became the WBC junior flyweight (108 lbs) champion in just his sixth pro bout, and has since moved up and become an absolute destroyer at 115 lbs. A potential showdown between Gonzalez and Inoue has been a dream matchup for hardcore fight fans, so having “The Monster” on the undercard of a Chocolatito show is step one.
If the card is in Los Angeles, it’s a strategically sound idea. As pointed out by Rian Scalia, LA has the largest Thai population outside of Asia, along with the second-largest number of Nicaraguans. Chocolatito already has a solid following in that region, so it should attract a strong crowd.
There is also the possibility that this doubleheader turns into a 115 lbs tripleheader, with Juan Francisco Estrada (36-1-1, 27 KOs) taking on Juan Francisco Estrada (34-2, 24 KOs) in an all-Mexican battle. As the RingTV article stated, HBO broadcasting this sort of event is “a feat that would have been nothing more than a dream just three years ago.” Only a handful of bantamweights and hardly any flyweights have been spotlighted on US television in recent years, but that appears to be changing for the better.