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Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez faces McWilliams Arroyo on 4/23

Roman GonzalezBy Dan Ambrose: In a disappointing fight, WBC flyweight champion Roman Gonzalez (44-0, 38 KOs) will defend his title against #9 WBC McWilliams Arroyo (16-2, 14 KOs) in a voluntary defense on April 23 on HBO Championship Boxing on the undercard of the Gennady Golovkin vs. Dominic Wade fight card at the Forum in Inglewood, California.

The 30-year-old Arroyo hasn’t been that active in the last two years after losing to IBF World flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng by a 12 round split decision in September 2014. Arroyo looked bad in losing to Ruenroeng in that fight, and it should have been a wider score than a split decision. I think that was bad judging. Arroyo was clearly beaten.

Gonzalez vs. Arroyo would be a fight worthy of first fight on the card, but definitely not a co-feature level fight. It’s too much of a mismatch and it’s a big step down for Gonzalez from his last fight against Brian Viloria last October. Arroyo is more of a showcase fight for Gonzalez to look good in, but not one where you’re going to see a competitive fight and a potential for an upset.

Besides losing to Ruenroeng in the past, Arroyo has also been beaten by Takashi Okada earlier in his career. The problem with Arroyo is he’s never beaten anyone good in his career, so it’s kind of a disappointment that he’s fighting Gonzalez instead of a higher quality fighter ranked higher in the division.

Arroyo is coming off of a 4th round knockout win a year ago over Victor Ruiz (20-5, 14 KOs) in April 2015. It’s unclear why Arroyo hasn’t been active since then.

It’s too bad that Arroyo didn’t do more to redeem himself after his loss to Ruenroeng. Beating Ruiz and then getting another world title shot off the back of that empty win isn’t nearly good enough to get anyone excited about this mismatch. Arroyo was terrible in the Ruenroeng fight, and he should at least beat a high caliber fighter before he gets another crack at the title.

I think boxing fans would have preferred to see Roman Gonzalez fight the likes of Juan Francisco Estrada, Kazuto Ioka, Ruenroeng, Giovanni Segura, Juan Reveco, Nawaphon sor Rungvisai, Zou Shiming, Moruti Mthalane, Rocky Fuentes or Johnriel Casimero.

At least those guys have been active and are quality fighters that haven’t been beaten recently like ring rusty Arroyo. If Gonzalez’s management couldn’t get one of them, then they should have looked to the super flyweight division to get some of the highly talented fighters up there such as Naoya Inoue, Kohei Kono or Zolani Tete.

The casual boxing fans probably won’t be none the wiser that Gonzalez is being matched against a limited fighter in Arroyo. For a lot of the fans, they’ll be seeing Gonzalez for the first time. Their whole focus will likely be on the Golovkin fight, so anything that is on the undercard will be fine with them. But for the fans looking for competitive fights and being knowledgeable about the sport, they won’t be happy with the Gonzalez-Arroyo fight because it’s a mismatch.

Gonzalez is a very good fighter and is coming off of a 9th round stoppage of Brian Viloria. I’d rather see a rematch between those two fighters than to see Gonzalez having to take a big step down to fight a ring rusty, recently beaten Arroyo.

“Having Roman paired with Gennady was a winning combination in 2015 as both fought in front of huge crowds in Los Angeles and New York City,” said Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler. “Roman has a very fan-friendly style and we’re pleased that following his HBO debut in May at the Forum, he was recognized as the #1 Pound-For-Pound Fighter by most of the major media platforms worldwide. McWilliams Arroyo brings a great deal of confidence and skill into this battle, wanting to join his brother McJoe as a world champion.”

Arroyo’s brother, McJoe Arroyo, is the IBF super flyweight champion. I thought McJoe was really poor last year in winning the vacant IBF title in his fight against Arthur Villanueva. I had Villanueva winning that fight, which was stopped in the 10th due to a cut over Villanueva’s right eye. I wasn’t impressed at all with McJoe in that fight and I don’t think he should have won. I was more impressed with Villanueva. He looked really good against a limited fighter in McJoe.

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