Yafai favored to defeat former champ
By Bill Tibbs
Britain’s Kal Yafai will defend his WBA world super-flyweight title against former P4P king, Nicaragua’s Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez this Saturday, February 29 in Frisco, Texas.
The fight is one of the main support fights of the welterweight bout between Mikey Garcia and Jessie Vargas in a matchup that should have a big-bout (see: world title shot) upside for the winner.
Also on the show is Welsh challenger Jay Harris who fights WBC world flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez.
Gonzalez turned pro in 2005 and was a world champion by 2008 winning the WBA world minimum weight title. He made 3 defenses of that title before moving up and adding the WBA light flyweight title to his collection in 2010. He would go on to make 5 defenses of that title before adding the WBC flyweight title in 2014. He then added the WBC super-flyweight title in 2016 and was perhaps the hottest fighter in boxing.
However, 2017 would be a rough year for the native of Managua, Nicaragua as he lost both of his fights that year to Wisaksil Wangek who beat him by MD 12 in New York in the spring and then stopped him in the rematch in September.
At 29 years of age, not young for someone in that light of a weight division, many people wondered if he had reached the end of his outstanding run.
Since then Gonzalez has rebounded with 2 wins with the last one coming just a couple of months back so he should be in good shape for this Texas tussle. Once considered perhaps the best fighter in boxing, the hugely popular Nicaraguan star is looking to show that he has another title win in him but he is in tough against champion Yafi who comes in at 29-0 and is making the 6th defense of the title that he won at the end of 2016.
While Gonzalez knows that he is in for a rough night, and is indeed the underdog going into the fight, in speaking with the BBC in a recent interview, he indicated that he is happy to get the opportunity and is looking forward to the fight.
"I know this will be a very hard fight, but it will be worthy of all our efforts and determination”, said a quietly confident Gonzalez . "God has responded to my prayers once again”.
Gonzalez is in a tough spot at this stage of his career. He would struggle terribly to try to make flyweight these days, however, one wonders if super-flyweight is really an ideal weight for him. In short, he might be too big for his ideal weight but might be naturally too small to carry his power into the super-flyweight division.
For the humble, and very likeable, Gonzalez, a lot of questions as to the direction of his career will be answered on Saturday night.