By Jake Donovan
Breaking against its absurd tradition of rarely if ever showcasing lower-weight fighters, cable giant HBO has finally opened its doors to Róman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez.
The unbeaten flyweight king will make his network debut on May 16. His title defense versus Edgar Sosa has been added as the chief support to the upcoming middleweight showdown between undefeated knockout artist Gennady Golovkin and slick boxer Willie Monroe Jr. at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
News of the bout was confirmed during a press conference held Tuesday at The Forum to formally announce the Golovkin-Monroe Jr. show.
Gonzalez (42-0, 36KOs) has long been regarded as one of the best all-around fighters in the sport, but only recently has begun to get the recognition his career deserves. The undefeated little big man from Nicaragua has claimed titles at strawweight and junior flyweight, but obtained his first genuine championship with a stellar performance in a knockout win over reigning flyweight king Akira Yaegashi last September.
Prior to moving up to flyweight in 2013, Gonzalez—affectionately known as "Chocolatito" throughout the boxing world—was best known for his sensational Nov. '12 war with Juan Francisco Estrada at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles, roughly 20 minutes away from where his forthcoming showdown with Sosa will take place.
The win over Estrada marked the last time Gonzalez has been extended the distance, having scored knockout wins in his last eight starts.
Gonzalez' HBO debut makes the May 16 event must-see TV for any true boxing fan. Golovkin (32-0, 29KOs) has emerged as one of boxing's fastest rising stars, as he makes his eighth network appearance. The undefeated middleweight from Kazakhstan is coming off of an 11th round knockout of Martin Murray in February, marking his 19th consecutive stoppage win dating back to Nov. '08.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox