By Keith Idec
Roman Gonzalez appreciates all the attention he has received within the past year.
The flyweight sensation nicknamed “Chocolatito” has soared to the top of many mythical pound-for-pound lists and his third straight HBO or HBO Pay-Per-View fight is scheduled for Saturday night. He has enjoyed sharing cards with middleweight knockout artist Gennady Golovkin, with whom he has drawn capacity crowds to The Forum in Inglewood, California, and Madison Square Garden over the past 11 months.
The unbeaten Nicaraguan star hopes, however, that an impressive victory over Puerto Rico’s McWilliams Arroyo on Saturday night at The Forum will lead to him headlining his own HBO show in his next fight.
“I believe that both fighters, Golovkin and myself, deserve main events,” Gonzalez said through a translator during a recent conference call. “And I hope that after this fight they give me an opportunity to have my own main event.”
Gonzalez’s 112-pound division doesn’t typically produce main events on HBO or Showtime, the premium-cable networks that bankroll much of the sport. But Gonzalez and his handlers believe he is an exception and has earned that unique opportunity.
“We’ve been pushing for that and Roman has definitely gotten a great response from the HBO viewers,” said Tom Loeffler, managing director of K2 Promotions, which represents Golovkin and works with Gonzalez. “And if he wins on Saturday, then that is definitely something that will [be discussed] with HBO.”
The 28-year-old Gonzalez (44-0, 38 KOs), who has knocked out 10 straight opponents, hopes to join junior flyweights Michael Carbajal and Humberto Gonzalez as rare fighters in such low weight classes to earn $1 million for a single fight.
“Due to the fact of the weight class, that’s why the purses are not as high,” Gonzalez said. “But I do believe that after this fight, me and Arroyo and I will give such an excellent fight, soon I will be receiving the purses that I deserve. … It motivates me because I know that after God gives me the will and the power to be able to win on Saturday, I know that after that fight there will be a lot higher purses, with a lot more value, and that motivates me.”
The 30-year-old Arroyo (16-2, 14 KOs) will fight for a flyweight world title for the second time in his six-year pro career. The 2008 Olympian knocked down Thailand’s Amnat Ruenroeng (17-0, 5 KOs) in the sixth round of his first title shot, yet still lost that 12-round fight for Ruenroeng’s IBF flyweight title by split decision in September 2014.
The Gonzalez-Arroyo fight will open HBO’s “World Championship Boxing” doubleheader scheduled to start at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Kazakhstan’s Golovkin (34-0, 31 KOs) is set to defend his IBF, WBA “super” and interim WBC middleweight championships against Dominic Wade (18-0, 12 KOs), of Largo, Maryland, in the 12-round main event.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.