By Haxel Ruben Murillo
Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez will defend his WBC super flyweight world title in March, possibly in New York as part of the Gennady Golovkin vs. Daniel Jacobs undercard at Madison Square Garden.
His manager, Carlos Blandon, said yesterday that the four-time world champion will announce his next opponent on January 15.
The mystery remains as to who Gonzalez will select. Many felt he would go forward with a rematch against Carlos Cuadras, but everything indicates that that fight will have to wait until September.
As of yesterday, Cuadras had not notified about anything regarding an agreement to face Gonzalez, which gives an indication that an agreement was not reached.
If not Cuadras, who will become the next opponent for Gonzalez? The list of candidates is long.
There is Mexico's Juan Francisco "el Gallo" Estrada, but he's only fought three times in the last two years and Gonzalez wants a lot of money to take that fight.
Although unlikely at the moment, WBO world champion Naoya Inoue could appear on the scene. However, he just defended his 115-pound world title and he may not want to fight again that quickly. That possibility is very complicated, although it is well known that HBO has a lot of interest in that fight.
The last option, with best possibility of facing González, is Thai fighter Srisaket Sor Rungvisai - who is the current mandatory challenger under the WBC.
Taking into account the recent statements from Mauricio Sulaimán, president of the WBC, Gonzalez must fulfill the mandatory commitment to Sor Rungvisai.
"If [Gonzalez] does not fight the rematch with Cuadras, he would have to make the defense mandatory. We have to attend to the division based on the rules," said Sulaiman.
Blandon says a "final decision has not been made," but Gonzalez is leaving Nicaragua very shortly to begin his training camp.