By: Sean Crose
“We know it’s going to be a great fight, a war for the fans,” Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez said of this Saturday’s WBC junior bantamweight title throwdown between himself and old nemesis Juan Francisco Estrada. “But we have faith in God that we’re going to come out victorious. We’ve worked well in our training camp, and you’ll see this on Saturday.” Chocolatito has faced Estrada twice before, once in 2012 and once again in 2021. He won the first match, the second was awarded to Estrada via somewhat controversial decision. With so much riding on Saturday’s fight in Glendale Arizona, it’s little wonder that Chocolatito-Estrada 3 is getting better press than the third Tyson Fury-Derek Chisora fight, which will also go down this Saturday.
Fury is expected to win handily when he squares off against Chisora, after all. No one can say with complete confidence how the Chocolatito-Estrada bout will play out. Chocolatito, however, has been exuding confidence. “My physical condition has been very good,” he said, “and I know it will be a beautiful fight for the fans. We’ve shown that the lighter weights have qualities that fans like to see. I get the feeling this third fight will be legendary too and many people will remember this great fight like the first and the second. The last two fights captured the hearts of the fans so, the third will be a tremendous fight, it could be the best one.”
Of course Chocolatito is now 35 years of age, which would be fine if he were a heavyweight. Chocolatito, however, is going to be weighing in at no more than 112 pounds for his bout with Estrada. Keeping in mind that smaller fighters don’t generally have the longevity bigger fighters do, it’s clear that sun will set on Chocolatito’s career most likely sooner rather than later. That’s something the man himself admits can be difficult to face. “It’s difficult to stop doing something that you like, you know?” he said. “God has blessed me so much in my life. I’ve been given pretty much everything, I know that we’re coming to a stage where it might be time to hang them up, but we always ask God for time.”
The legendary 51-3 fighter has no complaints. “The most important thing,” he said, “is to enjoy the moment. And right now, I’m enjoying myself because you’ll never get these moments back so, I’m enjoying it, I’m loving it because I feel that God has given me such a great gift, you know?”