Roman Gonzalez moved up one weight class over the weekend and in doing so the Japanese-promoted Nicaraguan may have put himself in position to finally gain more recognition outside of Latin America and Asia.
Gonzalez (27-0, 23 knockouts), THE RING’s No. 1-rated strawweight for more than two years, stepped up to the junior flyweight division where he dominated Francisco Rosas to a second-round TKO victory in Tokyo on Sunday.
Rosas had been the only strawweight to give Gonzalez a fight since the 23-year-old boxer-puncher knocked out THE RING’s previous top 105 pounder, Yutaka Niida, in September of 2008. Thus, the Nicaraguan’s two-round demolition of the rugged Mexican was enough to earn him a No. 10 rating in THE RING’s 108-pound rankings.
“A talented, undefeated knockout artist such as Roman Gonzalez will most likely zoom up the ranks in his new weight class,” said Nigel Collins, Editor-in-Chief of THE RING. “But in order to be fair to the current crop of contenders who have been competing at 108 pounds, additional advancement for Gonzalez will have to be earned by beating some of the boxers rated ahead of him.”
That’s good news for Gonzalez and for the sport because there are more formidable opponents for him at 108 pounds than there were at strawweight.
Gonzalez made three defenses of the alphabet title he won by stopping Niida in four rounds. In his first title defense last February, a reportedly weight-drained Gonzalez struggled to a majority decision over Rosas in Mexico but he rebounded by outclassing Katsunari Takayama, THE RING’s No. 6-rated strawweight at the time, five months later.
Though Gonzalez looked spectacular knocking out his next three opponents in Mexico, Nicaragua and Japan, his performances have garnered very little attention in the U.S., which is unfortunate.
Gonzalez, who was mentored by the late Alexis Arguello, has a great story, superb talent and technique, and a style guaranteed to entertain even causal boxing fans. All he needs is a significant fight with a ring foe who can help attract the attention of the English-speaking boxing media and perhaps even U.S. television.
That rival could be THE RING’s junior flyweight champion Giovani Segura. The Southern California-based slugger, who is already popular in Mexico, earned a degree of crossover respect with his thrilling eighth-round KO of previously unbeaten Puerto Rican veteran Ivan Calderon in August.
Although Segura’s manager Ricardo Mota says his fighter is committed to a rematch with Calderon next April, the search is on for other potential high-profile fights in 2011.
“Gonzalez could definitely be a future opponent for Giovani,” Mota told RingTV.com. “He’s young, he’s exciting and I think he can be one of the names in the small weight classes. Giovani knows who he is. He knows Gonzalez was a champ at 105 pounds and he knows the kid is good. All Gonzalez needs to do is establish his name a little more at 108 pounds because Giovani wants to fight all the names of the smaller weights. If Gonzalez wants the fight and the money is there for it, we would welcome it.
“The only thing that could put it off is Giovani’s move to flyweight. He doesn’t plan to stay at 108 pounds for very long because it’s killing him to make it. We’re going to have him defend the titles on November 27 in Mexico and then the rematch with Calderon because that’s a big fight, but then Giovani wants to go to flyweight and challenge the real champ, the Thai guy (Pongsaklek Wonjongkam). We don’t know what kind of money is in Thailand, but Giovani is willing to travel there because he wants the RING belts.”
Gonzalez’s stoppage of Rosas earned him an “interim” 108-pound title so his next fight will likely come against Juan Carlos Reveco, another interim beltholder of the silly sanctioning organization that seems to hand out titles like candy on Halloween.
Reveco, THE RING’s No. 8-rated junior flyweight, is a solid contender who should further test Gonzalez’s ability at 108 pounds. However, the once-beaten Argentine will not bring Gonzalez the attention a showdown with Segura would.
It remains to be seen if Segura sticks around at junior flyweight long enough for Gonzalez to establish himself as a top contender and a worthy challenger. But even if the two punchers miss each other at 108 pounds, the division is home to many other talented and experienced fighters such as Calderon, Brian Viloria, Ulises Solis, Omar Nino, and Rodel Mayol, all of whom could make for attractive future matchups with Gonzalez.
RING RATINGS UPDATE:
Toshiaki Nishioka retains his No. 1 contender spot with a unanimous 12-round decision over Rendall Munroe, who falls from No. 7 to No. 9. Monroe’s demotion elevates Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. (No. 8 last week) and Satoshi Honsono (No. 9 last week) one position each, respectively.
Gonzalez (No. 1 at strawweight last week) has moved up to the 108-pound class with a knockout of Rosas, replacing Johnriel Casimero at No. 10.
Gonzalez’ move to the junior flyweight division allows everybody rated No. 2 through No. 10 last week to advance one place each. Filling the void at No. 10 is undefeated Wanheng Menayothin.