NEW YORK -- Brian Viloria is a good, smart and polished professional fighter, a classy man and a talented boxer who has won four world titles in two weight classes.
But he was no matched for the world's finest boxer on Saturday.
Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez not only retained the WBC flyweight title with a ninth-round stoppage of the ex-American Olympian Saturday at Madison Square Garden, he made a major statement with a comprehensive performance.
He landed all manner of punches -- from right crosses and uppercuts to jabs and left hooks -- often in combination and always hard. Many, including Yahoo Sports, have deemed him the world's top pound-for-pound boxer in the wake of Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s retirement, and he looked every bit the part of it against Viloria.
“Roman is a tremendous fighter," Viloria said after the fight. "I have nothing but respect for him. I had prepared for a different Roman and he surprised me with his defense and his speed. I do feel like the fight was stopped prematurely, I feel good and can keep going. If I had an opportunity to take him on again I would. I feel like I learned a lot today and would use that for the next time around.”
With the Garden filled to the rafters, Gonzalez put on the kind of performance that made legends of many who fought here previously, including Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, and Roberto Duran, who was seated at ringside.
Vilora came out of the corner fast and was winging punches at Gonzalez, who started fairly slowly and took a good look at what Viloria had to offer. But by the latter part of the second round, Gonzalez seemed to have the distance figured out and Viloria timed, and he went to work.
He dropped Viloria in the third with a punishing straight right hand and never let up. Viloria tried to fight back, but he was in with a master.
Viloria's corner should have started to think about stopping it around the seventh round, when his right cheek began to swell badly. But it was up to Esteves to halt the carnage as Gonzalez unleashed a powerful combination while they fought in the corner.
"I thought it was a tremendous fight and Chocolatito is a special fighter," K2 promoter Tom Loeffler said. "With his performance at The Forum [in May] and here tonight, I think he's ready to carry a main event in the U.S. We'll talk to HBO about that. He's a great boxer and fights at a high pace."
Loeffler said he'd pitch a bout with Juan Francisco Estrada, one of the other many greats in the deep and talented flyweight division.
According to Gonzalez landed 335 of 805 punches. More importantly, he connected on 55 percent of his power punches.