On September 21st in Managua, Nicaragua, Roman “El Chocolatito” Gonzalez made his triumphant return to the ring after a longer than expected layoff. That return was shortened due to what seemed to be an early stoppage from the referee in the 7th round to which Gonzalez acknowledged as well.
The fight itself seemed like it could have been a classic for the two. Both fighters connected great shots and combos at will in what was becoming a war.
Within the first minute of round one Gonzalez connected with a great uppercut on Francisco Rodriguez Jr. which set up an offensive attack from Gonzalez. Gonzalez continued to stalk Rodriguez throughout the round until Rodriguez connected with a shot that backed Gonzalez up while Rodriguez landed shot after shot. Needless to say, for an opening round it was pretty exciting.
In the second round Gonzalez was able to pin Rodriguez against the ropes early on and land hard combinations. Rodriguez was unable to mount an offense but was able to counter with some great shots. At the end of the round Rodriguez was cornered and punished by Gonzalez until the bell rang to end the round.
The third round started out slow but once the action picked up it really heated up but was cut short when the referee gave Rodriguez a warning for a low blow that never occurred. The round ended with the fighters in a heated exchange.
In the first 30 seconds of round four, an unintentional low blow was landed on Rodriguez who then looked at the referee to see if he was going to do anything about it. The referee did nothing and the fight continued. The two fighters then engaged in a toe to toe battle landing shots to the body and head. Gonzalez landed a hard shot to Rodriguez liver which sent Rodriguez back for a second then Rodriguez came forward on the attack and the toe to toe battle resumed.
Round five started where they left off in round four, slugging each other. Rodriguez went down from a slip and then was warned by the referee to watch out for head butts. Shortly after Gonzalez sprang an attack on Rodriguez landing shot after shot. Rodriguez was able to counter with a monstrous right but Gonzalez walked through it and continued his attack. The last 20 seconds of the round was all Rodriguez mounting an attack on Gonzalez.
In round six Rodriguez had a point taken away for holding his hand in front of Gonzalez face. The round lacked action as it seemed both fighters were taking a break but in the last 30 seconds Gonzalez attacked and never let off the gas until the bell rang. Rodriguez countered and threw combinations which were landing but not having the effect that he would like.
Rodriguez went down within 30 seconds of round seven from another slip. Rodriguez was bleeding and his face was swelling from the shots he had consumed during the fight. Gonzalez had Rodriguez once again on the ropes connecting shot after shot and Rodriguez was countering. The referee stepped in-between the two fighters and called a halt to the bout 1 minute 10 seconds into the round.
Rodriguez corner protested the stoppage and were right to do so. Even though Gonzalez was clearly winning Rodriguez was not out on his feet and was defending himself. Rodriguez showed that he is a good fighter with a bright future. Though his corner protested the stoppage, Rodriguez went over and congratulated Gonzalez.
Rodriguez was brave and proved himself as a fighter. When he landed in Nicaragua he said he did not come to fight “Chocolatito,” he came to knock him out. That’s what he tried to do.
After the fight Gonzalez gave his thoughts on his opponent.
“He came in great shape,” said Gonzalez. “He surprised me that he was able to take the shots that he did. After the fight was stopped he told me the fight was stopped early but you are a good boy. Keep your head up and enjoy your victory.”
Neither fighter has control over what a ringside doctor or a referee does and even though Gonzalez felt that Rodriguez could have continued it was the referee’s call.
“You know I don’t have control over that. I do my job how I am supposed to do but I think he could (have continued). People have a right to their opinions. I do my job. He is a real good fighter and can take a punch and no matter how you hit him he is still there with you. Not all Mexicans (that Gonzalez has faced) can take a punch the way he does.”
In the televised co-feature, Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr. scored a seventh round stoppage over Darwin Zamora.