By Steve Kim
At the Wednesday afternoon press conference at the Forum in Inglewood, California, it was announced that a bout between WBC flyweight titlist Roman 'Chocolatito' Gonzalez and Edgar Sosa would be the opening bout on HBO on May 16th before the night's main event featuring WBA/IBO middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin defending his belts against Willie Monroe Jr.
So is HBO, which traditionally doesn't showcase fighters below the bantamweight level, in the Gonzalez business or is this more of a one-off?
Peter Nelson, the Vice President of Programming for HBO Sports, told BoxingScene.com:
"We'll see where it goes, obviously, whenever one of the best fighters in the world wants to be on our network we are going to try and create something sustainable so that we can not just see a single fight. But if he delivers as he's been delivering for the fans and the demand is there, then we'll see him fight for a long time to come."
For some reason American networks have had a 'glass floor' as it relates to the smaller weight classes. So what was the breakthrough with the hard-hitting and accomplished Gonzalez (who not only has an impressive mark of 42-0 with 36 stoppages and has won major world titles in three weight classes) who could possibly have rematches with Juan Francisco Estrada or a bout with Brian Viloria in his future if he comes out victorious in his HBO debut.
"It's something that has been in the works for some time," said Nelson, who credited K2 Promotions for making this a possibility.
"Truly it was Tom Loeffler who saw the opportunity to combine the prestige that Gennady has come to represent with that same prestige to another pound-for-pound fighter in 'Chocolatito' and so the concept at that point very fluidly was put in place quickly after that. We're thrilled that it came together."
Steve Kim is the news editor for BoxingScene.com.