GLENDALE, Arizona – Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez is not yet ready to consider retirement but readily acknowledged that the finish line is now in sight.
The legendary former four-division champion is still among the best in a loaded 115-pound division even at age 35. No plans are on the horizon to find out how much he will have left by his 40th birthday. For now, it’s one day at a time which to Gonzalez means all focus on his rubber match with lineal junior bantamweight king Juan Francisco ‘El Gallo’ Estrada this weekend at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona (Saturday, DAZN, 8:00 p.m. ET).
From there, he will be in a better position to answer just how many more days are left.
“Of course, God has blessed me with the talent to accomplish great things in boxing,” Gonzalez told BoxingScene.com and a small group of reporters during a recent media roundtable. “I’m honored to have achieved what I’ve done so far in the sport. I do believe I have maybe another couple of years left in me. We’ll just have to see what the future holds.”
The immediate plans for Nicaragua’s Gonzalez (51-3, 41KOs) is to become a three-time junior bantamweight champion. That goal is well within reach, with Estrada’s lineal crown and the vacant WBC 115-pound title at stake in this weekend’s trilogy clash.
Gonzalez was considered unlucky to not get the nod in their memorable rematch, as Estrada emerged victorious via disputed split decision last March 13 at American Airlines Center in Dallas. Estrada defended his lineal and WBC championship, while ending Gonzalez’s WBA title reign after just 13 months.
Gonzalez previously held the WBC junior bantamweight title, defeating Carlos Cuadras in September 2016. The win saw Gonzalez become a four-division champion and cementing his status as a future Hall of Famer. He is 5-3 since that night, including back-to-back losses to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in 2017 and then Estrada last year.
With a win on Saturday, Gonzalez is hardly prepared to ride off into the sunset. While he could retire on Sunday and be guaranteed to make the Hall of Fame on his first try three years later, there is still a few more boxes to tick before ultimately calling it a day.
“Obviously, what I want to do is to further unify the division,” noted Gonzalez. “But I can’t think about that right now. I have to beat Juan Francisco Estrada on Saturday. I am in excellent shape, mentally and physically.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox