Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez says he is ‘proud to have represented Nicaragua with such dignity’ – but still has plenty more to add to his legacy as he prepares to face Juan Francisco Estrada in a unification rematch at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas on Saturday night, live worldwide on DAZN.
Chocolatito (50-2 41 KOs) was victorious in the first fight with Estrada (41-3 28 KOs) in November 2012, and his final fight as a Light-Flyweight World ruler. Two years later in his 40th pro fight he became a three-weight World ruler by beating Akira Yaegashi in Japan for the WBC and Ring Magazine World Flyweight titles and his September 2016 victory over Carlos Cuadras landed him World honors at a fourth weight with the WBC Super-Flyweight strap.
Chocolatito has always been honored to be part of the rich boxing history in his homeland, led by one of the all-time greats in the late Alexis Arguello, and the former pound-for-pound king fondly remembers looking up to and spending time with Arguello, as he looks back on a remarkable career that he believes still has many more chapters to be written.
“When I fought Yaegashi, the question that all of Nicaragua had was ‘Are you on the same level as Alexis Arguello?’” said Chocolatito. “I won that third title in Japan and then a fourth title came, where everybody was waiting expectantly to see if I’d win it. I trained a lot because it was one of my dreams. And then… boom! I won the title and Nicaragua welcomed me like never before.
“I’m so proud to have represented my country with such dignity. And well, I’m so happy for my parents, my family. And for Alexis, who was always there for me, teaching me the good things about this boxing world.
“I always respected all the orders Alexis gave me because he’s a three-time champion. It’s an honor. He was like my father. We were very close. Sometimes he invited me to his house, and I remember being at his house, eating and I got relaxed, and he dropped me off at my fight and that day was the first time that I got hit hard.
“I was scared, but I got up and I knocked the guy out. But those are life experiences that I had with him where I learned. Because I think, I could have not gotten up after that punch. But due to the conditions, it made me get up again. Alexis was a very demanding person in the gym. And even in the fight.
“I consider myself a man who’s done the best that I could. I had difficult times growing up but, in the end, it worked out well. Life has taught me a lot of things, and I learned. And I feel and think that I’ve already conquered many things in boxing. What comes now with this title is just extra.
“I never imagined myself getting to where I am now. But wow, it is still hard, it costs me. Because I train the right way. I do things the way they should be done. But I like it. And it’s what’s let me help my family. Help my kids. I don’t complain because I thank god for where I am now.
“Life has been hard and difficult with sacrifice. My family, my children, what makes me get up in the morning is to keep reaping victories in boxing. Not only that, but many young guys that want to be like the champ, like Chocolatito. But in the end, it’s what gives you your happiness in life. What you want to achieve in your life.
“When I retire, I will leave very satisfied and very happy to have been able to have so much success for my kids and my family, and also for the people of Nicaragua.”