Is it time for Roman Gonzalez to move up in weight?


Roman GonzalezUndefeated WBC flyweight champion Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez (43-0, 37 KO’s will defend his title on Oct. 17 at Madison Square Garden in New York on the undercard of the middleweight title unification fight between Kazakh Gennady Golovkin (33-0, 30 KO’s) and hard-hitting Canadian David Lemieux (34-2, 32 KO’s).

One of the more explosive fighters of our time, Gonzalez is having trouble finding a solid opponent who would test him to his limits. Former light-flyweight champion Giovani Segura said in May that he would KO Gonzalez within six rounds, a statement that was greeted by chuckles.

It’s been almost an entire year since Segura has been in the ring when he fought a former ‘Chocolatito’ victim in Juan Francisco Estrada for the WBA and WBO flyweight titles, a fight in which he lost by TKO in the 11th round, and later blamed an undisclosed injury.

That’s not the test that Gonzalez is looking for.

McWilliams Arroyo (16-2, 14 KO’s), the twin brother of IBF World super-flyweight champion McJoe Arroyo, has also appeared as a candidate.
The 29-year-old Arroyo doesn’t have a vast amount of professional experience, but he’s won a gold medal in the Central American and Caribbean Games (2006), the Pan American Games (2007), and the World Amateur Boxing Championships (2009), respectively.

A fight against Arroyo could be difficult to market because the Puerto Rican recently took a loss against Amnat Ruenroeng for the IBF World flyweight title last September. Although it was a very close fight, a battle that saw Ruenroeng see the canvas in the sixth round, Arroyo lost a narrow split decision.

Arroyo rebounded this past April to stop 24-year-old Victor Ruiz in the third round, but if that’s enough to earn him a World title shot – time will tell.

Fans love Gonzalez for his all-out aggressive style, but at some point he’s going to have to fight a credible opponent. 23-year-old Nawaphon Por Chokchai (29-0, 22 KO’s) is his mandatory.

Both guys haven’t fought a lot of tough competition – Chokchai even more so – but a fight between them would be interesting.
Chokchai is an interesting fighter because he’s a hybrid. He can play it smart and box you from the outside, but he also knows when it’s time to go to war.

This makes the fight intriguing on two fronts: Gonzalez has never fought a guy that can play the game both ways, and Chokchai has never fought a guy that’s constantly going to war. So when you combine these two styles, that’s what you’re going to get, an all-out war.

To be frank, there aren’t many fighters in the flyweight division that deserve a shot against Gonzalez. He may have no other choice but to move up to 115-pounds.

Although he dominated in their first fight, Gonzalez could always rematch Estrada (WBA/WBO titleholder) to add a couple more belts to his collection, but it’s understandable if Estrada wants no part of that. If he does manage to rematch Estrada and beat him, he could unify the division with a victory over Ruenroeng. At 28, Gonzalez is still young, and has plenty left in the tank. A three-division world champion, don’t be surprised if he’s forced to pursue a fourth title.