Former pound-for-pound king Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez has been unable to work through a knee injury he suffered last week at his Indio, California, training camp and has withdrawn from his upcoming fight against former junior flyweight world titlist Pedro Guevara, Tom Loeffler of 360 Boxing Promotions told ESPN on Sunday.
Gonzalez, a former four-division world champion, and Guevara were due to square off in a 10-round junior bantamweight bout in the co-feature of the final HBO boxing telecast on Dec. 8 (10:20 p.m. ET/PT) at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
"Unfortunately, he injured his knee when he was running in camp so he is not able to fight or train, so he is off the show," Loeffler said. "He got hurt last week and got therapy and a cortisone shot but his knee didn't respond. He is going to have arthroscopic surgery on it. It's the kind of thing where he should be out about six weeks and come back in the first quarter of next year."
Although Gonzalez (47-2, 39 KOs), 31, of Nicaragua, is out with the injury, which was first reported by the Los Angeles Times, Loeffler said top junior bantamweight contender Juan Francisco Estrada likely will replace Gonzalez on the card and face Guevara (32-3-1, 19 KOs), 29, of Mexico.
"We're excited to have him back on the show. If Estrada fights it's a good replacement," Loeffler said. "Estrada was training for a fight in Mexico but that fight got canceled, so it looks like they'll take the fight on Dec. 8.
"I've already contacted the Estrada people and he wants to take the fight, so it works out well for Estrada. It's unfortunate for Chocolatito but good for Estrada."
Estrada (37-3, 25 KOs), 28, of Mexico, has had his last three consecutive fights on HBO as part of Loeffler's "Superfly" series of cards and is headed toward a probable rematch with junior bantamweight world champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, who edged him by majority decision in an action-packed fight on Feb. 24.
The two other bouts remain intact for the "Boxing After Dark" telecast that will end HBO's 45-year run of televising most of the biggest fights in boxing. The network announced in late September that it would no longer televise the sport.
In the main event on Dec. 8, undisputed women's welterweight world champion Cecilia Braekhus (34-0, 9 KOs) will defend her belts for the 24th time when she meets Aleksandra Magdziak-Lopes (18-4-3, 1 KO). In the opening bout, unified women's middleweight world titleholder Claressa Shields (7-0, 2 KOs), a two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist, will defend her belts against super middleweight titlist Femke Hermans (9-1, 3 KOs), who will move down in weight for the fight.
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