Title fights must be subsequent for Roman Gonzalez, Mauricio Lara and Jose Ramirez after dominant victories

Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez proved on Saturday that he is nonetheless among the best fighters on the planet, however extra so, that age is not slowing him down.

His masterclass efficiency en path to a unanimous-decision victory over Julio Cesar Martinez was simply the newest spectacular outing in a Corridor of Fame profession crammed with them. Gonzalez could possibly be headed to a rescheduled third bout with Juan Francisco Estrada, however Martinez’s future is much less clear after the sort of career-altering beating he sustained.

Within the co-main occasion, Mauricio Lara stored constructing momentum with a wild knockout of Emilio Sanchez within the third spherical of a slugfest. At this level, Lara merely deserves a title shot in his subsequent outing and it might be unfair if it did not materialize.

On Friday evening, Jose Ramirez reminded the boxing world that he is nonetheless a participant at 140 kilos when he grinded out a unanimous-decision win over Jose Pedraza. With Josh Taylor set to relinquish his 4 junior welterweight titles to maneuver up in weight, Ramirez is well-positioned to turn out to be a two-time champion in his subsequent bout. However in opposition to whom ought to he struggle?

Let’s reply that query and extra after a high-stakes weekend of boxing:

“Chocolatito” removed from carried out

Gonzalez was left for lifeless as a top-tier fighter after he was knocked out by Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in 2017. Because the loss, he is scored wins over Kal Yafai and now Martinez to associate with a controversial choice defeat in opposition to Estrada final March. His comeback is without doubt one of the most spectacular in current reminiscence.

Nicaragua’s Gonzalez and Mexico’s Estrada had been set to fulfill a 3rd time on Saturday, however the struggle was cancelled after Estrada examined constructive for COVID. Martinez had the chance to derail the Estrada bout, however following one other marvelous exhibiting from “Chocolatito”, the trilogy is extra urgent than ever earlier than.

Contemplating they already closed a deal for the bout, it might be shocking if it wasn’t rescheduled for later in 2022. And it additionally would not be shocking if Gonzalez scored one other victory over Estrada, who’s ESPN’s No. 8 pound-for-pound boxer.

“Everybody is aware of that the final struggle I had with ‘Gallo’ Estrada, I gained,” Gonzalez mentioned.

His efficiency in opposition to Martinez left little doubt with the judges as he poured punishment on the Mexican from begin to end with dizzying combos from seemingly each angle. Uppercuts and left hooks had been combined with proper fingers to the physique again and again. Martinez by no means had a solution in what amounted to a mismatch.

Approaching his thirty fifth birthday, “Chocolatito” nonetheless has loads to supply. He is already gained titles in three weight lessons and loved a prolonged reign because the acknowledged pound-for-pound king. Maybe he’ll chase a title in a fourth weight class. Gonzalez expressed curiosity in a 118-pound title bout, a weight class headlined by Naoya Inoue, however that additionally options future Corridor of Famer Nonito Donaire.

However earlier than Gonzalez considers a type of daring matchups, he ought to stay at 115 kilos and settle unfinished enterprise with Estrada after which Rungvisai.


Martinez belongs at 112 kilos

Martinez was chubby Friday at 116.4 kilos, however after he was completely outclassed by Gonzalez in a struggle contracted at 115 kilos, it is clear his future stays at 112.

“He appeared too small, he appeared too inexperienced,” promoter Eddie Hearn mentioned. “He’ll return to flyweight.”

Martinez supplied thrills in spurts on Saturday, winging haymakers from distance and daring Gonzalez to hit him sq. on the chin together with his fingers at his waist, however he by no means threatened to win the struggle. Dimension might need performed an element, however Gonzalez is just too good as properly.

At 112 kilos, the place Martinez is a champion and rated No. 1 by ESPN, he will not must encounter anybody approaching Gonzalez’s greatness. For years, flyweight champion Sunny Edwards has lobbied for a bout with Martinez, and that matchup stays viable as soon as Martinez rebuilds his confidence. The struggle presents an interesting duel of types. Whereas Martinez assaults with reckless abandon, Edwards containers with guile and endurance from the surface.

There is a little bit of historical past, too. Martinez fought Sunny’s older brother, Charlie Edwards in an August 2019 title struggle. Martinez badly harm Edwards in Spherical 3 earlier than the Englishman took a knee. Whereas kneeling, Martinez delivered a crunching left to the physique. Initially dominated a third-round KO, the bout was later overturned to a no contest as a result of foul.

Three years later, a gathering between Martinez and Edwards’ youthful brother, Sunny, would decide supremacy at 112 kilos.


Lara on cusp of title shot

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Mauricio Lara simply beats the bell with an unbelievable punch as he knocks out Emilio Sanchez.

Lara, a 10-1 underdog, wasn’t well-known when he entered the ring in opposition to Josh Warrington final February, however he introduced his arrival with a ninth-round stoppage victory. The win ought to have made Lara a champion, however Warrington vacated his belt previous to the bout. After the September rematch led to a second-round no contest on account of a conflict of heads that left Lara with a nasty lower over his left eye, he returned Saturday with one other scintillating efficiency.

Lara, 22, dropped Emilio Sanchez within the first-round, however was in deep trouble in Spherical 3 after a flurry from Sanchez. Nevertheless, Lara, stormed again and scored a brutal knockout with a hellacious proper hand that landed one second earlier than the bell.

The violent nature of the struggle was thrilling, and the knockout is certain to land on spotlight reels, however Lara is extra than simply an motion fighter. Rated No. 2 by ESPN at 126 kilos, Lara is lengthy overdue for a featherweight title shot.

A matchup with fellow Mexican motion fighter Emanuel Navarrete, a titleholder, can be a must-see bout between ESPN’s high two featherweights. A title struggle between Lara and Mark Magsayo, who upset Gary Russell Jr. in January, would even be extremely anticipated for the motion it might ship.

After which there’s Leo Santa Cruz, who stays a featherweight champion and will return to 126 kilos. Yet another viable choice: the winner of Saturday’s bout between Leigh Wooden and Michael Conlan.


Victory opens alternatives for Ramirez to turn out to be a two-time champion

Jose Ramirez delivered the sort of dependable, consistence efficiency followers are used to seeing from the previous champion. In his first struggle since dropping his titles to Josh Taylor in Might, Ramirez, 29, did not do something extraordinary within the ring, however his workmanlike strategy was as soon as once more sufficient to grind out a win over a stable contender.

Ramirez by no means stops coming ahead, even when he is being countered. That is his model. That technique has served him properly and the unanimous-decision victory in opposition to Jose Pedraza on Friday strains Ramirez up properly for an opportunity to turn out to be a two-time champion.

Taylor was fortunate to flee together with his titles final weekend in a struggle with Jack Catterall and after the controversial victory Taylor revealed plans to marketing campaign at 147 kilos transferring ahead and meaning he’ll relinquish these 4 belts, making them accessible to the highest contenders at junior welterweight.

Ramirez will certainly land a type of alternatives, and there is loads of intriguing choices for his opponent.

Jose Zepeda, who dropped a disputed choice to Ramirez in February 2019, is the WBC No. 1 contender whereas Ramirez is rated No. 2. There is a good likelihood the Ramirez-Zepeda rematch materializes subsequent for the vacant title.

However there are many different potential choices for Ramirez. Teofimo Lopez Jr., who misplaced his undisputed 135-pound championship in November in opposition to George Kambosos Jr., will transfer up and marketing campaign at 140 kilos transferring ahead, and will meet Arnold Barboza in his junior welterweight debut. After that, a struggle in opposition to Ramirez could possibly be simple to make since each are High Rank fighters.

Regis Prograis has lengthy known as for a struggle with Ramirez. Prograis returns March 19 in opposition to Tyrone McKenna, and an anticipated win might result in a future bout with Ramirez. However essentially the most compelling choice of all for Ramirez could be a matchup in opposition to Subriel Matias, a volume-punching fighter with devastating energy — 18 KOs in 18 wins.

Whomever comes subsequent, Friday’s return was a reminder that Ramirez at all times performs properly however not often wows. In a possible title struggle with any of the fighters talked about above, Ramirez will doubtless must be even higher the subsequent time round.

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