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Roman Gonzalez-Brian Viloria: Post Report Card

by Cliff Rold

If there were any doubts about Gonzalez before Saturday, it was that his chin hadn’t been truly tested. Brian Viloria had the power to do it. He landed some hard power shots.

Gonzalez handled them just fine.

Gonzalez doesn’t just look special. He is special. This might be the best Flyweight since…Miguel Canto? Pascual Perez? Fidel LaBarba? As he continues to make his way in the lighter divisions, those arguments will only get stronger.

Grades

Pre-Fight: Speed – Gonzalez B; Viloria B+/Post: B+; B+
Pre-Fight: Power – Gonzalez A; Viloria A/Post: Same
Pre-Fight: Defense – Gonzalez B; Viloria B/Post: B+; B
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Gonzalez A; Viloria B+/Post: Same

On Saturday, the lineal and WBC 112 lb. king Gonzalez got an experienced two-division former champion who came to win. The ways he broke Viloria down impressed.

Early on, his defense was as important as offensive output that flows like water and lands like a hurricane. Viloria landed some stuff, but there was a lot of subtle blocking and slipping that could be missed. Gonzalez was hit more as the fight went on, but only after Viloria had lost a step in the ring.

To his great credit, Viloria got off the deck in the third and dug deep to stay in the fight. It wouldn’t have been crazy to stop the fight before the start of the ninth. Viloria deserved to go out on his shield and did.

Throwing just shy of 100 punches a round according to CompuBox, Gonzalez landed over 40% and set it up off a jab. There will be lots of attempts to figure out who to compare him too. His combinations have shades of Louis, his uppercut the inheritance of his mentor Alexis Arguello.

It’s probably best to just let Chocolatito be Chocolatito. That’s been more than enough to elevate him to consideration as the best fighter in any division on Earth right now.

That doesn’t mean he is peerless. There remains business to be done at Flyweight before the scale comes calling. A showdown with Juan Francisco Estrada, the WBA and WBO titlist in his class, is the best little fight that could be made right now and maybe in the last twenty years.

Gonzalez was the better man in a 2012 classic. Estrada is better now than he was then. The sooner we see it again, the better.

Only after that rematch can we really begin to ask fairly where Gonzalez potentially belongs in the pantheon of greats in boxing’s lowest classes. For now, it’s enough that he brought a roar from Madison Square Garden just shy of the love shown the main event.

 Who said American’s can’t love a Flyweight? On two coasts this year, the US has embraced the sweetness of Chocolatito just fine.   

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