Chocolatito versus the Hawaiian Punch at MSG
WBC flyweight champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, 43-0 (37), considered by some to be one of the world’s best pound-for-pound fighters, will defend his title against former four-time, two-division world champion Brian “Hawaiian Punch” Viloria, 36-4 (22) on Oct. 17 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The fight will be a great addition to the televised portion of the HBO Pay-Pay-View card that features a main event starring undefeated Gennady Golovkin unifying his WBA middleweight crown against hard-punching Canadian IBF counterpart David Lemieux.
On a card that features two bombs-away, fan-friendly fighters like Golovkin and Lemieux, it can be hard to grab any bit of the spotlight, let alone steal it. But this beauty between Gonzalez and Viloria might just be the fight any and everyone talks about on Monday around the water cooler. Both fighters bring a lot to the table and it should be a fun one.
Chocolatito, 28, was a former junior flyweight and strawweight champion before vacating those titles to campaign at a higher weight. In Gonzalez’s last fight, he hammered former junior flyweight titlist Edgar Sosa in the second round on the undercard of Golovkin’s last title defense against Willie Monroe Jr. It was Gonzalez’s HBO debut and he delivered. The network liked what it saw and invited him back.
In Viloria, 34, a former champion at junior flyweight and flyweight, you have a world-class fighter who came into the professional ranks 14 years ago after an outstanding amateur career that culminated in an appearance in the 2000 Olympics. Viloria unified the flyweight world titles in Nov. 2012 before losing them in a close, split decision to Juan Francisco Estrada in the spring of 2013. However, he regrouped, put together four wins and has now landed a shot at WBC kingpin Gonzalez.
To get by Gonzalez (who was trained by late, great champion Alexis Arguello in the early days of his career), Viloria knows he has to bring everything he has left and more to the table. In pre-fight interviews, he clearly understood the magnitude of taking on one of the game’s best but, at the same time, was confident that he had the experience and power to get the job done.
“I just need to come in shape. I just need to do what I have to do in the gym and be able to fight 12 rounds like it’s fighting the first round. Just let my hands go. I don’t think Chocolatito has ever fought a guy who can hit as hard as me and who is a bit faster than any other fighter that he’s fought. I have the experience. I’ve been in big battles, big fights, and I don’t think Chocolatito has ever fought a guy quite like me. All I need to do is to come into the fight with a straight head and just let my hands go. I don’t think I could be training any harder than I’m doing already and I’m just ready – ready to go!”
Gonzalez, who has more than enough reason to confidently head into the fight, is just quietly relying on his fitness, fists and faith as he again looks to expand his brand in front of a large, Stateside audience.
“I know Brian Viloria is a great champion and it will be a hard fight but I am ready for the challenge,” Gonzalez said. “I have faith that God will give me the strength to keep training and be able to give all my fans my best fight ever.”