To many fight fans, flyweight champion Roman Gonzalez is little more than a name they may see on a pound-for-pound list. But make no mistake, "Chocolatito" is more than worthy of the high regard so many have for him.
Before winning the legit flyweight world title, he was a strawweight and junior flyweight titleholder. He's the best little man in boxing. He has beaten several quality opponents -- including Akira Yaegashi, Francisco Rodriguez Jr., Juan Francisco Estrada and Katsunari Takayama -- and fights in a crowd-pleasing style.
Now -- finally! -- after years with such a big reputation, the 27-year-old Gonzalez is going to get wide exposure he deserves when he defends his championship against former junior flyweight titleholder Edgar Sosa (51-8, 30 KOs), a very credible opponent, on May 16 on HBO (10 p.m. ET/PT) in the opening bout of middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin's defense against 2014 Boxcino champion Willie Monroe Jr. at the Forum in Inglewood, California.
"Thanks to God, a great champion like Sosa and Teiken Promotions, along with HBO and K2 Promotions for making this happen," Gonzalez said at a news conference promoting the fight on Wednesday at a Los Angeles steakhouse. "I'm honored to fight at the Forum where my idol Alexis Arguello fought four times."
Arguello, the late Hall of Famer, was a mentor to Gonzalez (42-0, 36 KOs), who is Nicaragua's greatest fighter since Arguello.
"I believe this fight will steal the night," said Gonzalez, who has mostly fought in Nicaragua, Japan and Mexico.
"Many of my heroes have fought at the Forum," Sosa said. "I feel great and will be ready for victory on May 16th. I'm honored to have this opportunity against Roman and will make the most of it."
Pairing Golovkin's fight with Gonzalez puts two of the top 10 pound-for-pound fighters in the world on the same card, which is why K2 Promotions named the card "Pound For Pound."
"This is a rare opportunity for boxing fans to see two of the top pound-for-pound fighters in their prime on the same show," said K2 managing director Tom Loeffler, who made a deal with Gonzalez promoter Teiken Boxing to add him to the card. "This card is reminiscent of many of the legendary cards from the past at the Forum."
HBO has been hearing from media for a while about how it should step up and look to put Gonzalez on the air. Guilty as charged, and happy the pressure worked.
"This event was the media creating the demand for Gennady and Chocolatito to appear on the same card," HBO's Peter Nelson said. "I'm thrilled that Roman Gonzalez versus Edgar Sosa is happening on HBO. These two fighters fight at an elite level and they merit the opportunity to fight on HBO."
In fact, Gonzalez-Sosa will be the first flyweight fight on HBO in 20 years since Danny Romero appeared on the network in 1995. And if all goes well for Gonzalez it probably won't be his last appearance on HBO.
"This fight is very meaningful to us, fighting at the Forum where Alexis Arguello fought," said Carlos Blandon, Gonzalez's manager. "We hope that Roman will keep fighting in the United States and on HBO."