By Jake Donovan
Undefeated junior flyweight Roman “El Chocolatito” Gonzalez remained unbeaten after easily turning back the challenge of perennial bridesmaid Manuel “Chango” Vargas in front of a hostile crowd Saturday evening at Plaza San Diego in Puebla, Mexico.
Scores were 116-112 (twice) and 119-109 in their Fox Sports Espanol-televised main event.
Vargas had his moments early in the fight, taking the fight to Gonzalez in a second round that was perhaps his best of the fight. It was enough to put the partisan crowd into a frenzy, with alternating chants of “Mexico” and “Chango” filling the arena.
As the fight developed, Gonzalez was able to find his range and get into a rhythm, leaving Vargas on the hunt but often a step behind for much of the first half of the bout.
That dynamic changed considerably in the final four rounds.
Terrific two-way action was offered in a ninth round that saw a little bit of everything. Toe-to-action had the crowd on its feet, even if exaggerating on every punch landed by the house favorite.
A momentary break in the action came when Gonzalez went very low with a shot that forced Vargas to his knees. The traveling titlist was warned for the infraction, but managed to keep his punches up for the rest of the round to avoid further discipline.
Vargas rode whatever momentum came from the previous frame into the championship rounds, matching Gonzalez punch for punch and at times forcing the normally flame-throwing Nicaraguan to fight in reverse.
However, Gonzalez managed to avoid letting the fight slip away from him, though it came from boxing on the outside when it was clear that pure power wasn’t going to get the job done. Vargas struggled to land whenever any amount of distance was offered between the two, a fact on which Gonzalez picked up and employed in the closing moments of the 11th round.
Where an all-out two-way assault was expected in the final round, a boxing match instead broke out. Gonzalez was content to stick and move, while Vargas didn’t quite seem sure how to bring the fight back into his favor.
The Mexican brawler attempted to change up in the closing minutes in the fight, but the effort was far too little and too late to make a difference in the fight or even get Gonzalez’ attention.
With the unanimous decision comes Gonzalez’ second win as a junior flyweight titlist. He improves to 28-0 (23KO), having now scored wins in three different countries over his last three contests. It’s a familiar pattern in his career, as he has recently made a habit of fighting in Japan and Mexico in addition to his native Nicaragua.
While Gonzalez travels from one country to the next, Vargas keeps bouncing around between weight classes. The former strawweight titlist falls short in a second attempt at capturing alphabet hardware at junior flyweight as his record drops to 29-8-1 (13KO).
In addition to his failed efforts at the title level, he has also suffered knockouts in non-title fights against Nonito Donaire and Giovani Segura over the course of the past year and change.
In the televised co-feature, former lightweight title challenger Ricardo Dominguez squeaked by Luis Antonio Arceo with a 10-round split decision.
No scores were offered by the ring announcer, other than to announce “un decision divida” before declaring Dominguez the winner.
The bout was a nip-and-tuck affair throughout, with a third round knockdown by Dominguez seemingly the difference in the bout. A right hand caused Arceo’s legs to buckle, before pitching forward and stumbling to the canvas.
It was the only knockdown of the bout, which was fought at a brisk pace featuring few lulls.
Dominguez improves to 33-7-2 (20KO) with the win, his first since falling short in a failed title bid last November against Miguel Vazquez. He also came up short in a spirited effort last May against Humberto Soto.
Arceo falls to 23-11-3 (15KO), having won just two of his last six.
The show was presented by Promociones Zanfer and Top Rank Inc.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected] .