By Ronnie Nathanielsz
WBA light flyweight champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, one of the best of the smaller men in boxing, is looking forward to a possible unification title bout against WBO champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes who defends his title against Mexico’s Felipe Salguero at the Resorts World Hotel & Casino on June 2 in a fight to be telecast by ABS-CBN on its highly rated “Pinoy Pride” series.
Gonzalez mentioned Nietes along with Ulises Solis and Adrian Hernandez as the fighters he would like to face after destroying Ramon Garcia Hirales of Mexico at the Fairplex in Pomona, California, dropping Garcia twice in the fourth round before the referee called a halt.
ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer told the Manila Standard that Gonzalez “is tough, has power and is a good fighter but we’ve always wanted Nietes to go after the big names and move up a step because he is the longest reigning Filipino world champion. He hasn’t been given the chance to really excel and earn the respect he deserves. Hopefully after this fight (vs Salguero) that’s the fight we want.”
Raul Garcia Hirales had lost the WBO title to Nietes via unanimous twelve round decision in Bacolod City last October.
Gonzalez used a right straight and a left hook to the body against the southpaw Garcia, the identical twin brother of Raul “Rayito” Garcia, himself a former world champion, in the early rounds.
But Garcia came back strongly in the third, catching Gonzalez with solid right hooks to the head of the champion and hard lefts to the body. The challenger continued to press the action at the start of the fourth round before Gonzalez connected with a vicious combination to the head. Garcia not only beat the count but fought back before Gonzalez nailed him with a left uppercut and a right to the head and dropped him once again to the delight of the predominantly pro-Gonzalez crowd as referee Raul Caiz Jr called a halt at 2:09 of the round.
In a post-fight interview Gonzalez said Garcia surprised him with his boxing skills in the first couple of rounds but added “Once he felt my power, he began to back up. When I landed my right hand, I knew he was done. Not too many guys can take my power.”
With the win the undefeated Nicaraguan improved his record to 32-0 with 27 knockouts while Garcia who is from La Paz, Mexico dropped to 16-4-1 with 9 knockouts.