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Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez set to face Rober Barrera in homecoming bout on July 12


by Francisco Salazar | 

Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez has finalized an opponent for his homecoming bout.

Gonzalez will face Rober Barrera on July 12, All Star Boxing announced Wednesday afternoon. The 10-round bout will take place at the Polideportivo Alexis Arguello in Gonzalez’s hometown of Managua, Nicaragua and will stream live on ESPN+ in the U.S. and on ESPN Knockout throughout Latin America.

The fight will be fought at 118 pounds.

“We are anxious to get back in the ring,” said Gonzalez. “This will be a big comeback in my career and I’m grateful it’s going to be in front of my Nicaraguan people.”

Gonzalez (51-4, 41 knockouts), a likely first-ballot Hall of Famer, has not fought since December 2022, losing by majority decision to Juan Francisco Estrada, who is the current Ring junior bantamweight champion. The fight was the third fight between the two, with Gonzalez winning the first fight by unanimous decision in November 2012, and Estrada grinding out a split-decision win in March 2021.

Sandwiched between the two defeats against Estrada was a one-sided decision victory over WBC world flyweight titleholder Julio Cesar Martinez in March 2022.

Gonzalez, who will turn 37 on June 17, has won world title belts at 105, 108, 112, and 115 pounds. After fighting in Japan and Nicaragua, Gonzalez would be part of the ‘Superfly’ cards that also featured the best fighters at 115 pounds, which aired on HBO platforms.

After a devastating knockout loss to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in September 2017, Gonzalez would win the WBA world title at 115 pounds, stopping Khalid Yafai in February 2020.

Barrera (27-5, 17 KOs), who resides in Monteria, Colombia, last fought on December 17, stopping journeyman Victor Berrio in the second round. Barrera has won his last three fights since losing to Pablo Carrillo by split decision in July 2022.

The 31-year-old challenged then-WBA world junior flyweight titleholder Ryoichi Taguchi in July 2017, losing by knockout in the ninth round.

Barrera claims the fight against Gonzalez will act as an act of retribution for his older brother Ronald Barrera, who lost by knockout to Gonzalez in May 2013.

“I’m blessed for the opportunity given to me,” said Barrera. “For me, this will be revenge of my brother’s defeat (to) ‘Chocolatito’ in 2013.”

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]

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