If you like the smaller weight divisions, have we got a fight for you: pound-for-pound king and flyweight champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez moving up in weight to challenge junior bantamweight titleholder Carlos Cuadras.
They are set to meet Sept. 10 (HBO, 10 p.m. ET/PT) at the Forum in Inglewood, California, in one of the best fights that can be made between little guys. They are a combined 80-0-1 with 65 knockouts, and the draw on Cuadras’ record is of the technical variety, the result of an aborted fight due to an accidental head butt.
Gonzalez (45-0, 38 KOs) and Cuadras (35-0-1, 27 KOs) are both outstanding fighters. Gonzalez is universally hailed as the No. 1 flyweight in the world and as the pound-for-pound king by most. Cuadras is, at worst, the world’s No. 2 junior bantamweight.
"It means a great deal to me to win a fourth world title and I dedicate this fight to the memory of my mentor and hero Alexis Arguello."Roman Gonzalez
"Great fights such as ‘Chocolatito’ versus Cuadras happen because great fighters want them to happen, in this case two champions in their respective divisions seeking the toughest challenges -- two undefeated champions willing to get in the ring for the fans to prove who's the best,” Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions, Gonzalez’s co-promoter, said at the kickoff news conference at the Forum on Monday. “This fight is a testament to the history of the Forum when they were known for having so many great fights featuring the lower weight classes. This brings back the glory days when Michael Carbajal fought Chiquita Gonzalez."
Besides being an outstanding matchup, there is also significant history at stake for Gonzalez, a former strawweight and junior flyweight titleholder, who is seeking to win a world title in his fourth weight division.
Winning titles in four weight classes would be historic for any fighter, but it has even more meaning for Gonzalez. His idol, mentor and trainer early in his career was the late Hall of Famer Alexis Arguello, the Nicaraguan legend and former three-division champion.
Gonzalez has wanted to win a title in a fourth weight class to honor the memory of his countryman Arguello, a former featherweight, junior lightweight and lightweight champion who famously failed in his attempt to win a title in a fourth weight class when he was knocked out by fellow Hall of Famer Aaron Pryor in the 14th round of their legendary fight in 1982.
“It means a great deal to me to win a fourth world title and I dedicate this fight to the memory of my mentor and hero Alexis Arguello,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez, the star of the show, is also excited to headline his first HBO card after serving as second fiddle to promotional stablemate Gennady Golovkin, the fearsome unified middleweight titleholder, for the past three fights.
“I'm honored to headline my first show at the Forum and look forward to all the fans’ support. It's a blessing to be named the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter and it’s motivation to keep training hard,” said Gonzalez, who will fight in the main event of a telecast that will open with a replay of Golovkin’s title defense against welterweight titleholder Kell Brook, which will take place earlier in the day in London.
Although second fiddle to Golovkin no more, Gonzalez said he will train with him in the mountains of Big Bear Lake, California. Gonzalez usually trains in Nicaragua or Costa Rica.
"I'm very happy to train in Big Bear with Gennady Golovkin,” Gonzalez said. “The conditions up there will provide the best preparation for the fight."
Mexico’s Cuadras, 27, who will be making his seventh title defense, will look to put a stop to the Gonzalez freight train. He sure sounded confident on Monday.
"Thanks to ‘Chocolatito’ for coming up to my division and taking this challenge,” Cuadras said. “This fight will provide fireworks. It will be a war and this title is coming back to Mexico. I'm good, I'm fast and I'm very handsome and I'm going to win by knockout.”