Kal Yafai: Hearn trying to make Roman Gonzalez fight for early 2019
By Scott Gilfoid: Kal Yafai (24-0, 15 KOs) says his promoter Eddie Hearn is trying to put together a blockbuster fight against former four-division world champion Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez for 2019. Yafai, 29, has a title defense he needs to get out of the way on November 24 on Hearn’s DAZN card against #13 WBA Israel Gonzalez (23-2, 10 KOs) to get out of the way first at the Casino de Monte Carlo, in Monte Carlo, Monaco.
The 31-year-old Chocolatito has lost two out of his last three fights, and he’s trying to get his career back on track after devastating losses to the talented Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, who now holds the WBC super flyweight title. Yafai doesn’t say why his wily promoter Eddie Hearn isn’t trying to setup a fight between him and Rungvisai. I mean, that would be the logical fight for Hearn to make, wouldn’t it? Why fight the guy that Rungvisai beat twice in Chocolatito Gonzalez when you can fight the man himself to show how good – or how not so good you are. Of course, if this is all about Hearn and Yafai taking advantage of a fading fighter down on his luck in 31-year-old Gonzalez, then you can perfectly understand why they’re so eager to make the fight. There’s a huge difference between Yafai, 5’4″, fighting Rungvisai and Gonzalez. The difference starts with the rehydrated size of the two fighters. Rungvisai and Yafai look like light welterweights after they rehydrate for their fights. Gonzalez looks more like a tiny super bantamweight. Chocolatito doesnt put on much size after he rehydrates for his fights at super flyweight, which begs the question why in the world is he still fighting in the 115 lb weight division.
“Chocolatito is the fight that Eddie (Hearn) is trying to make,” Yafai said to skysports.com. “One more fight each and then we can get it on. I’m ready, I’m here waiting…I don’t think Roman Gonzalez’s team are too keen on it though. Maybe he needs another fight to build some more confidence,” Yafai said.
Hearn has the money to get Chocolatito to agree to fighting Yafai. I’m just not sure what the fight would prove. Gonzalez clearly doesn’t belong fighting in the super flyweight divisions. He’s stubbornly stuck it out after moving up in weight from the 112 lb weight class in 2016, but he’s not looked good in fights against Carlos Cuadras and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai since moving up to the weight class. The only fighter that Roman shined against is former light flyweight Moises Fuentes, and the reason for that is the guy isn’t huge for the 115 lb weight class. Gonzalez would do well if he moved back down to 108 or 112, where he would fight guys his own size. At 115, Chocolatito is much too small for the weight class. Hearn will likely throw a ton of money at Chocolatito in an effort to get him agree to fight Yafai. The idea is that a win over Chocolatito will validate Yafai’s career, making him look better than he is, and that in turn will lead to more boxing fans wanting to see him fight as a headliner on Hearn’s Matchroom cards. Let’s pretend for a second that Hearn gets his wish and Yafai beats the undersized Chocolatito in 2019. The victory for Yafai still won’t solve his problems of him lacking the talent to beat the lions at 115 like Rungvisai, Estrada, Nietes and Arroyo. As soon as Hearn matches Yafai against one of those guys, he’s going to lose just like he would have if those fights were made in 2018 in my view. As such, Hearn should forget about making Yafai vs. Chocolatito, and instead focus on having him walk the plank against the true talents in the super flyweight division.
For some in-explainable reason, Hearn picked out the recently knocked out bottom dweller Israel Gonzalez for Yafai to defend his World Boxing Association World super flyweight title against on November 24 instead of a higher ranked contender or world champion to fight. Israel Gonzalez was knocked out in the 10th round earlier this year in February by IBF 115 lb champion Jerwin Ancajas in an embarrassingly one-sided fight in Corpus Christi, Texas. Israel was up and down on the canvas like a human yo-yo. It wasn’t even sporting. Ancajas did what he wanted against a punching bag with arms. The Texas crowd looked bored by the mismatch, as it was clear from the first sixty seconds of the fight that the little known fringe contender Gonzalez didn’t belong inside the same ring with Ancajas. In watching that fight, it’s troubling that Hearn would select Israel Gonzalez as Yafai’s next opponent to fight on November 24 to defend his WBA 115 lb strap against rather than a talented contender in the top 5 of the division. The only thing that Yafai can accomplish by facing a retread knockout victim like Israel Gonzalez is to see if he can knock him out faster than Ancajas. He probably can stop him quicker, but only because he’ll be working hard to stop him faster. Ancajas fought Gonzalez like he was trying to extend the fight by getting some rounds in for practice. Ancajas obviously knew right off the bat that Gonzalez was no threat to him, so he appeared to take it easy on him by fighting at a slow pace and not putting it on him in an effort to get him out of there immediately. Yafai is going to likely go out there with a huge chip on his shoulder on November 24, intent on showing that he belongs at the top of the super flyweight division by obliterating Gonzalez straightaway. The fight won’t prove a thing other than Yafai can beat a guy that has absolutely no business fighting for a world title.
If Hearn wanted to show how good Yafai is as a champion, he would match him against these talents:
– Srisaket Sor Rungvisai
– Juan Francisco Estrada
– Donnie Nietes
– McWilliams Arroyo
– Kazuto Ioka
– Naoya Inoue
– Zolani Tete
– Emmanuel Rodriguez
– Liborio Solis
– Luis Nery
– Carlos Cuadras
– Naoya Inoue
I included a lot of bantamweights in my list because Yafai is huge for the 115 lb weight class, and he obviously should be fighting at bantamweight or even super bantamweight. Yafai is one of those guys who looks too big for the weight division that he fights in. As such, there’s no reason why Yafai shouldn’t be fighting 118 lb fighters like Tete, Inoue, Cuadras, Emmanuel Rodriguez, Solis and Nery. It would be fun to see how Yafai would do against guys like Tete, Luis Nery and Inoue. Heck, I’d be happy just to see Yafai fight a talent like IBF bantamweight champion Emmanuel Rodriguez. I hate to say it, but I think Yafai loses to Rodriguez seven days a week, 365 days a year. I’d at least like to see Yafai fighting someone his own size for a change instead of him dwarfing yet another undersized down on his luck opponent.
Is there anything wrong with Yafai fighting those types of talents? You would think that Hearn, with his deep pockets, would find enough cash to lure one or all of those fighters into the ring with Yafai. Of course, I think Hearn can make all of those fights for Yafai if he wants to at the drop of a hat. The problem with Hearn matching Yafai against the above mentioned talents is he would likely lose to all of them, and then he wouldn’t be worth putting on Eddie’s DAZN cards. The boxing public aren’t going to want to see Yafai fighting once he’s knocked out by Rungvisai, Tete, Nery, Cuadras,