INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Floyd Mayweather has been largely unchallenged as the world's finest fighter for more than a decade. Now, though, there may be a debate.
Flyweight Roman Gonzalez made his HBO debut on Saturday a spectacular one, dumping Edgar Sosa three times en route to a successful WBC title defense at The Forum, forcing referee Raul Caiz Sr. to stop it at 2:37 of the second. It raised Gonzalez's record to 43-0 with his 37th knockout and burnished his reputation as an elite champion.
He may not be the best in the world yet, but there aren't but a very few fighters who are better than he is at this stage.
Gonzalez, 28, started slowly in the first round, getting the measure of Sosa, who was moving away.
It was for good reason. Once Gonzalez got his sense of timing and distance, he was blistering Sosa with near-perfect three- and four-punch combinations. He was working the body and the head and showing the complete arsenal of speed, power, boxing ability and defense.
"He's good," Sosa said. "He surprised me, but he’s a very good fighter. I can’t tell if he’s the best because it only went two rounds. If the fight had gone longer, I would know more."
Gonzalez has been one of the world's elite for a while, but because American television has had a bias against smaller fighters, he didnt' get an opporunity to fight on the big stage before Saturday.
He took full advantage, pummeling a quality fighter in Sosa. He dropped Sosa three times in the second, forcing Caiz to halt it. He could have stopped it at any point in the final 45 seconds, as Gonzalez was overwhelming Sosa with hard, accurate shots to the body and head.
He credited the late Hall of Famer Alexis Arguello, his countryman and one of the greatest fighters who ever lived, for helping him get to this point.
"With the grace of God and through my training with Alexis Arguello, I was able to put on a performance like this," Gonzalez said. "I am so happy to be here on HBO. I’m very happy with my performance. He was a tough fighter, but my power made the difference. I want to fight Juan Estrada next, hopefully on HBO and hopefully in the United States."