Detest as I’m to concede it, I’ll nonetheless be first to boost my hand and admit {that a} smidge greater than 5 years in the past – when a 30-year-old model of Roman Gonzalez was pummeled by a then-unappreciated Srisaket Sor Rungvisai within the small-town battle capital of Carson, Calif. – I assumed he was accomplished.

Not simply accomplished with the world-class set. However accomplished. Interval.

And I wasn’t alone. 

Right here’s a bit of an early a.m. post-fight recap written for ESPN.

“Having misplaced two fights in a row – and having engaged in a number of grueling slugfests – Gonzalez’s finest days seem behind him. He received world titles in 4 weight divisions, from strawweight to junior bantamweight, and have become the pound-for-pound No. 1. However Gonzalez, a disciple of the late, nice Corridor of Famer and Nicaraguan legend Alexis Arguello, appeared undersized within the 115-pound division. That, together with age, appeared to have caught up with him.”

I dare anybody to rewatch the tape – whereas acknowledging the mileage he’d already traveled in 47 fights throughout 4 weight courses – and give you a special verdict.

Undaunted, he took a yr and 6 days off, returned with a pair victories over one thing lower than the cream of the 115-pound crop, and appeared set to function high-profile fodder for the coming-out occasion of Khalid Yafai when the British Olympian signed to satisfy him in early 2020.

Everyone knows what’s occurred since.

Not solely did Gonzalez dominate on the best way to a ninth-round stoppage – driving Yafai right into a two-plus-year absence – however he reestablished himself as a legit participant at tremendous flyweight, defending his belt as soon as, dropping it in a threadbare rematch to Juan Francisco Estrada in March 2021 and returning to deconstruct late fill-in Julio Cesar Martinez when a would-be trilogy bout fell sufferer to COVID.

It’s as superb a profession restoration as I can recall for a 30-plus fighter after a brutal KO loss.

And contemplating the place he was 62 months in the past, it nearly doesn’t matter how this weekend goes.

Whether or not the now-35-year-old wins or loses an on-again third bout with Estrada – set for Saturday night time on the Desert Diamond Enviornment in suburban Phoenix – my notion of him within the closing act of his profession is much better than it will have been had he pulled the plug when it regarded crucial.

And although he by no means ascended to a Manny Pacquiao-level pay-per-view star or perhaps a full-time HBO headliner earlier than the “Community of Champions” referred to as it quits, the physique of labor for the person labeled “Chocolatito” certainly warranted the reward heaped on him by then-executive Peter Nelson.

“I feel followers are extremely refined and that they don’t look to the game merely on the narrowness of is somebody American or not,” he mentioned. “I feel it’s a worldwide sport and it speaks to individuals primarily based on the standard of athleticism that you simply see, and that’s what attracts individuals. I don’t assume that how massive or small a fighter is, or what nationality he’s, has something to do with the final word arc {that a} fighter’s profession can take. For those who’re within the health club working tougher than everybody else, there’s no restrict to what you’ll be able to obtain.”

Titles in 4 weight courses. A short stint as the game’s pound-for-pound king. And a formidable 5-1 run with three KOs and one other championship declare after many claimed the fireplace was competitively out.

That’s Corridor of Fame mettle of the very best grade, no matter trilogy outcomes.

* * * * * * * * * *  

This week’s title-fight schedule: 

Vacant WBC tremendous flyweight title – Glendale, Arizona

Roman Gonzalez (No. 1 WBC/No. 4 IWBR) vs. Juan Francisco Estrada (Unranked WBC/No. 1 IWBR)

Gonzalez (51-3, 41 KO): Twenty-first title battle (17-3); Held titles at 105, 108, 112 and 115

Estrada (43-3, 28 KO): Thirteenth title battle (10-2); Held titles at 112 and 115

Fitzbitz says: Trilogies are superb. And nice trilogies are superb to the third energy. Gonzalez received massive in 2012. Estrada received narrowly in 2021. I feel the latter man has extra left. Estrada by choice (70/30) 

WBC heavyweight title – London, United Kingdom

Tyson Fury (champion/No. 1 IWBR) vs. Derek Chisora (No. 13 WBC/No. 23 IWBR)

Fury (32-0-1, 23 KO): Third title protection; Beat Chisora in 2011 (UD 12) and 2014 (TKO 10)

Chisora (33-12, 23 KO): Second title battle; Misplaced WBC title attempt in 2012 (UD 12, Vitali Klitschko)

Fitzbitz says: This one doesn’t warrant the trash label as a result of Fury is the legit WBC champion. Nevertheless it’s shut. This one will reek for a very long time until it’s adopted by a Usyk showdown. Fury in 9 (99/1)

WBC flyweight title – Glendale, Arizona

Julio Cesar Martinez (champion/No. 1 IWBR) vs. Samuel Carmona (No. 18 WBC/No. 64 IWBR)

Martinez (18-2, 14 KO): Seventh title battle (4-0, 2 NC); Fifth battle within the U.S. (2-1, 1 NC)

Carmona (8-0, 4 KO): First title battle; First battle scheduled for 12 rounds

Fitzbitz says: I may marvel a few man with eight fights and no vital wins getting a title shot. However hey, boxing. Martinez shouldn’t be Pacquiao 2.0, however he ought to be loads right here. Martinez in 8 (90/10)

This week’s trash title-fight schedule:  

WBA “world” heavyweight title – London, United Kingdom

Daniel Dubois (champion/No. 31 IWBR) vs. Kevin Lerena (No. 12 WBA/No. 22 IWBR)

Why it’s trash: The WBA places on plenty of trash title fights. However few appear to resonate as a lot as those for a ridiculous heavyweight strap that’s labored its option to Dubois after residing with the likes of Trevor Bryan, Mahmoud Charr and Lucas Browne. It’s about as embarrassing as embarrassing will get.

Final week’s picks: 1-0 (WIN: Prograis)  

2022 picks file: 36-15 (70.6 %)  

General picks file: 1,245-407 (75.4 %)  

NOTE: Fights previewed are solely these involving a sanctioning physique’s full-fledged title-holder – no interim, diamond, silver, and so forth. Fights for WBA “world championships” are solely included if no “tremendous champion” exists within the weight class.  

Lyle Fitzsimmons has lined skilled boxing since 1995 and written a weekly column for Boxing Scene since 2008. He’s a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Affiliation of America. Attain him at [email protected] or comply with him on Twitter – @fitzbitz.  

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