Pound-for-Pound king Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez kicked off training camp yesterday as he began preparations to face Srisaket Sor Rungvisai on March 18. But this is the first time in a long he doesn’t have his lead trainer Arnulfo Obando with him.
Obando suffered an unexpected brain aneurysm back in late October, while vacationing in his native country of Nicaragua, and passed away shortly thereafter at age 54. While the unexpected loss of Obando was terribly difficult for both Gonzalez and Obando’s family, Gonzalez will move forward without shaking up his team.
"With the passing of my longtime trainer Arnulfo Obando, my head trainer will now be my father, Luis Gonzalez, and also in my corner will be Wilmer Hernandez," Gonzalez said at a news conference in Managua on Friday, before he left for Costa Rica. "They were both assistants to Arnulfo throughout my career."
What Gonzalez will shake up, however, is his training camp’s location. After preparing to face Carlos Cuadras by setting up shop in Big Bear Lake, CA, Gonzalez will now stick to a more tropical setting in Costa Rica - as Big Bear is pretty darn cold this time of year...
Said Carlos Blandon, Gonzalez's manager: "Right now it's snowing and cold in Big Bear and we feel it's better for Roman to train in Costa Rica where it is warmer, although in Big Bear was where Roman had one of his best training camps before the Carlos Cuadras fight."
If Gonzalez pulls out an expected win over mandatory challenger Sor Rungvisai this March, it could likely pave way for a anticipated rematch with Carlos Cuadras later in the year.