In a unification bout for the WBA and RING flyweight titles, Roman Gonzalez showed poise and power with a ninth-round TKO over Akira Yaegashi on Friday in Tokyo.
The referee waved the fight off after the former champ was knocked down by a combination of hooks and uppercuts from the Nicaraguan. Gonzalez (40-0, 34KO) scored a knockdown in the third round as well.
Yaegashi (20-4, 10KO) was game throughout the fight and willing to exchange with Gonzalez. However, this proved to be his downfall as his punches never seemed to hurt his opponent and Gonzalez displayed his defensive technique in blocking and slipping some punches. He gradually took control of the fight and outclassed the Japanese fighter with precise, powerful combinations and intense pressure. By the end of the fight Yaegashi’s eyes and cheeks were swollen from Gonzalez’s punches.
With this victory, Gonzalez has won titles in three weight classes and his status among the most elite boxers in the world has stirred up debate over why fighters in the lower weight classes aren’t getting as much media attention. In an era where it seems bouts are made only in terms of how much money can be generated instead of which ones would be the most challenging, the lower weight division fighters are earning a fan base with their willingness to seek out the toughest opponents. This may be in part due to the lack of money these guys earn, but nevertheless they serve as a reminder that boxing can and should be more than about how much money can be made in a bout.
Fans love the style Gonzalez brings to each fight. He is a talented boxer who has world-class power punching and isn’t afraid to show it. There is now talk about considering Gonzalez as pound-for-pound one of the best fighters in the world. Pound-for-pound lists are subjective in nature, but Gonzalez’s talent and accomplishments in recent years have earned him the consideration.
Potential bouts with Luis Conception or a rematch with Juan Francisco Estrada are Gonzalez’s best options. Oh who am I kidding, Gonzalez vs. Estrada II is the bout that makes the most sense. Estrada has been on a roll since his loss to Gonzalez in 2012 and this fight would show the fighters from other weight divisions what fighting for glory really is.
To paraphrase Bernard Hopkins, some fighters look at the fire and run away, but others see the fire and face it head on.