On another night, we’d be talking about how McWilliams Arroyo turned into a terrific performance to beat Flyweight X. Instead, Arroyo’s terrific performance served only as a backdrop to the greatness of Roman Gonzalez.
On HBO Saturday, Arroyo ended Gonzalez’s 10-fight knockout streak with intelligent movement and sharp left hooks that had him as good as 2-2 in rounds through four. But like he tends to, Gonzalez revved his engine and delivered another 1,000-punch performance, and Arroyo was overwhelmed, losing in a landslide on the cards.
The flyweight champ and pound-for-pound king got more static than he usually does, thanks to Arroyo’s performance, but ultimately his bonkers combinations and ring IQ were too much for Arroyo. Arroyo demonstrated a remarkable beard and rallied in the 12th to deliver his first competitive round since the early ones.
It’s hard to say Gonzalez showed any vulnerability, really, so much as Arroyo looking pretty good, landing on Gonzalez more than most people do. And Arroyo might’ve landed even more often or better if he hadn’t head-hunted so often.
This was a worthy bout for Gonzalez, and better than the main event. But Gonzalez still keeps not fighting Juan Francisco Estrada or Naoya Inoue, opponents who could (and in case, Estrada’s, have already) give him a test. HBO’s little holding pattern for all its top fighters needs to end soon, because we’re three-quarters of the way through 2016 and none of them have been in as tough as they should.