Roman Gonzalez vs. Khalid Yafai 95% done for Feb.29 on DAZN
By Dan Ambrose: The negotiations are 95% complete for a fight between former #1 pound-for-pound KING Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez (48-2, 40 KOs) and WBA World super flyweight champion Khalid Yafai (26-0, 15 KOs) for February 29 the undercard of Mikey Garcia versus Jessie Vargas on DAZN, according to @ESPNmx.
Chocolatito Gonzalez has accomplished things in his career that Yafai can only dream about doing, as he’s not been blessed with the same type of talent. Yafai is more of a belt holder than a superstar level champion, and he’s obviously been matched carefully by his promoters all these years to keep him undefeated.
Yafai facing his FIRST tough opponent in his career
This will be Yafai’s sixth defense of his WBA 115-lb title that he won in 2016. Yafai has cruised through four years as a world champion without fighting anyone of note all those years.
There were guys that Yafai’s promoter Eddie Hearn could have matched him against like Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Juan Francisco Estrada, Carlos Cuadras, Donnie Nietes, but he opted not to. Hearn does want to put Yafai in with Estrada this year, but he’ll need to beat Chocolatito for that fight to take place.
It’s too bad it’s taken Hearn eight years to finally start matching Yafai against good fighters, but it’s probably for the best that he waited this long. Had Hearn put Yafai in with the likes of Rungvisai, Estrada, Nietes and Cuadras early on, they likely would have destroyed him.
Chocolatito vs. Yafai negotiations could be done soon
It’s believed that the negotiations between Chocolatito and Yafai could be completed at any minute. Gonzalez, 32, would be a replacement opponent for WBC 115-lb champion Juan Francisco Estrada, who was supposed to be fighting the 2008 Olympian Yafai next on the Garcia-Vargas February 29 card, but he suffered a hand injury training.
Yafai was hoping to fight the 29-year-old Estrada to try and pick up another belt at 115, but arguably better known Chocolatito will work just as good for him.
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn hopes that Yafai beats Chocolatito, and then faces Estrada next in a big money fight in the U.S that would secure Kal’s financial future. It would be a good idea for Hearn to just hope that Yafai can get passed Roman on February 29, because he could get exposed by him.
It’s no secret that Yafai looked terribly poor in his fights against Sho Ishida and Israel Gonzalez recently. That are really the only decent quality fighters on Yafaai’s eight-year professional resume. The majority of Yafai’s other wins have come against middle of the road opposition, who were either old or just not that good to begin with.
It’s interesting to note, Chocolatito beat Estrada by a 12 round decision in 2012. The two never fought each other again after that fight despite the huge demand for a rematch.
Chocolatito looked superb in last fight
The former 4 division world champion Chocolatito Gonzalez came back last month following knee surgery to stop Diomel Diocos in the 2nd round on December 23 at the Arena, in Yokohama, Japan. Choclatito looked like his old self in blasting out Diocos in 2 rounds to pick up his second consecutive victory since his back-to back losses to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.
The victory achieved by Román in just two rounds over the Filipino Diomel Diocos last December, allowed him to place himself as a replacement for Mexican Juan Francisco ‘Gallo’ Estrada, who was going to unify girdles with Yafai on January 30, but was injured by one hand and could not star in the meeting.
Chocolatito has captured world titles in the following weight classes:
Also on the Garcia-Vargas card on February 29, the exciting WBC flyweight champion Julio César ‘Rey’ Martínez (15-1, 12 KOs) is defending his title against unbeaten Jay Harris (17-0, 9 KOs). Martinez could steal the show from the main event fight between Mikey and Vargas, just as he did recently in stealing the thunder from the Daniel Jacobs vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. headliner on December 20th.
The Mikey Garcia vs. Jessie Vargas card will be taking place at The Ford Center at The Star, in Frisco, Texas. A win for little Mikey (39-1, 30 KOs) over former two division world champion Vargas (29-2-2, 11 KOs) could put him in the driver’s seat for a world title shot against WBA Super World welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao in April or May of this year.