NEW YORK -- Flyweight champion Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez strengthened his claim as the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world with his one-sided, ninth-round destruction of former unified titleholder Brian Viloria on Saturday night at sold-out Madison Square Garden.
Gonzalez dominated, much to the delight of a raucous cheering section of fans from his home country of Nicaragua, as he retained the title for the third time fighting in the co-feature of the Gennady Golovkin-David Lemieux middleweight title unification fight.
In the wake of Floyd Mayweather's retirement last month, most anointed Gonzalez as the new pound-for-pound king, and he showed it is a crown he is worthy of with the way he took apart Viloria, one of the top three flyweights in the world.
"I was in great shape, my conditioning was terrific," Gonzalez said. "We trained very hard in Costa Rica and have great sparring. Brian is a great champion, but tonight I was the better man. I fight for the people of Nicaragua, and this is their victory."
Viloria got off to a strong start as he went right at Gonzalez, who seemed to be biding his time before he turned up the heat.
He did it in the third round, when he dropped Viloria with a clean right hand to the chin. Gonzalez had a huge round as he worked Viloria over with right hands and left hooks to the head and drove him into the ropes. He rocked him again with an uppercut in the final seconds of the round and left him with a bloody nose.
Gonzalez, a protégé of the late, great Hall of Famer Alexis Arguello, was steadily breaking Viloria down as he landed an assortment of short, crisp punches that Viloria had little answer for. Viloria was hanging in there and occasionally got off a good shot, but he was throwing just one punch at a time while Gonzalez was throwing powerful combinations.
By the seventh round, it was all Gonzalez (44-0, 38 KOs), and Viloria (36-5, 22 KOs) was taking a beating. After the eighth round, the ringside doctor took a long look at the swollen right side of Viloria's face.
It was virtually target practice for the 28-year-old Gonzalez in the ninth round as he landed a wide-open right hand that snapped Viloria's head to the side. Finally, with Viloria, 34, a 2000 U.S. Olympian from Hawaii, taking tremendous punishment along the ropes, referee Benjy Esteves Jr. stepped in and stopped the fight at 2 minutes, 52 seconds.
"Roman is a tremendous fighter. I have nothing but respect for him," Viloria said. "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."
According to CompuBox, Gonzalez landed 335 of 805 punches (42 percent), and Viloria was limited to landing 186 of 594 (31 percent).
Gonzalez, who has won world titles in boxing's three smallest weight classes -- strawweight, junior flyweight and flyweight -- moved to 14-0 in world title bouts.
It was his second extremely impressive performance on American television. He made his HBO debut May 16, also on a Golovkin undercard, and dusted well-respected former junior flyweight titleholder Edgar Sosa in the second round of an electrifying performance.
Ortiz wipes out Vidondo
Heavyweight Luis Ortiz (23-0, 20 KOs) scored a brutal third-round knockout of unknown Matias Ariel Vidondo (20-2-1, 18 KOs) to win a vacant interim heavyweight title, the same belt that Ortiz had won once previously only to have the result changed to a no-contest and the belt taken away from him for a failed performance-enhancing drugs test.
While Ortiz looks like a heavyweight to be reckoned with, he won a third-tier title belt in one of boxing's alphabet organizations that already crowns recognized world champion Wladimir Klitschko and so-called "regular" titleholder Ruslan Chagaev.
Nonetheless, Ortiz's performance was impressive.
Ortiz, 36, a southpaw Cuban defector living in Miami, rocked Vidondo, 38, of Argentina, with a left hand late in the second round and then sent him to the mat with a powerful right hook.
Vidondo, fighting in the United States for the first time, was not together when the third round began, and Ortiz went right after him, landing a brutal left hand to the face that dropped him face first. Referee Shada Murdaugh waved off the fight 17 seconds into the round without a count.
Ortiz, who goes by "King Kong," then climbed the ring post and began beating his chest.
"I deserve this win and deserve to fight the best," Ortiz said. "Vidondo did hit hard but he wasn't good enough to face me. Everyone can see that I dominated the fight. I want to fight the best, and I want Golden Boy Promotions to keep its promise and get me the best.
"I am ready for Klitschko. I know he is running from me. I am going to come after him. I am just ready to become the heavyweight champion of the world."
In September 2014, Ortiz knocked out Lateef Kayode in brutal fashion in the first round to win the same interim title in Las Vegas. However, Ortiz tested positive for a banned substance after the bout. He was suspended, then returned in June for a first-round knockout win to set up another interim title bout.
Ortiz could be back to headline an HBO "Boxing After Dark" card Dec. 19.
• Middleweight contender Tureano Johnson steamrolled Eamonn O'Kane in a lopsided unanimous decision in a world title elimination bout to become a mandatory challenger for main event winner Golovkin.
Johnson, who dropped O'Kane twice, won 119-107, 118-109 and 117-109 in an action-filled fight.
Johnson (19-1, 13 KOs), who repeatedly turned southpaw, got off to a big start, scoring both knockdowns in the first round on clean right hooks to the head. Johnson seemed to hurt O'Kane (14-2-1, 5 KOs) with every punch he landed, and O'Kane appeared lucky to make it out of the round.
O'Kane, 33, of Ireland, showed enormous heart but took a beating and could not escape Johnson's right hand. Johnson, 31, a 2008 Olympian from the Bahamas, peppered him with punches round after round, continuing to work his right hand while mixing in uppercuts and body shots. O'Kane's face was showing the damage as he was cut over his left eye.
"This is my first time going 12 rounds, and man does it feel good," Johnson said. "It was a tough fight. No matter how many times O'Kane went down, he kept coming at me. I have respect for him as a fighter. Winning this title eliminator really makes everything for me come full circle and legitimizes me as a true threat in the middleweight division.
"You know this was a great fight that everyone enjoyed a true brawl, very Mexican style. This is the beginning for me; the sky is the limit."
According to CompuBox punch statistics, Johnson's 396 power punches set a CompuBox middleweight record. The old record was Bernard Hopkins' 375 landed against William Joppy in a world title bout.
• Dallas junior welterweight Maurice Hooker (19-0-2, 14 KOs), 26, survived a very rocky sixth round and pulled out a split-decision victory against Ghislain Maduma (17-2, 11 KOs), 30, a native of Congo living in Montreal, in an action-filled fight. Two judges had it for Hooker, 95-93 and 95-94, and one judge had it 95-93 for Maduma. Hooker dropped Maduma in the fourth round, but he mounted a big comeback and nearly knocked Hooker out in the sixth round. He had him in serious trouble and was nailing him with flush right hands but he stayed on his feet and bought some time when his mouthpiece came out.
"I think the fight went a good pace and Maduma was a good fighter," Hooker said. "He came prepared to fight. I knew I had him from the first round when I hit him with my left. By the fourth round, I grew confident that I was in the lead once I dropped him. But I grew too confident I think, and that is when he caught me by surprise in the sixth round. I wasn't as focused as I should have been so I made sure to listen to my corner and keep him at a distance with my jab for the remaining rounds."
Hooker said he would like a bigger fight.
"I would love a shot at (titleholder Adrien) Broner or any Golden Boy Promotions fighter at 140 pounds, like Antonio Orozco. I can take him," Hooker said.
• Washington, D.C., lightweight prospect Lamont Roach Jr. (9-0, 3 KOs), 20, used his fast hands to roll to a one-sided decision against Mexico's 24-year-old Jose Bustos (7-6-3, 4 KOs), winning 59-55 on all three scorecards.
"Bustos came to fight. He was not backing down throughout the fight but I did not feel threatened by him," Roach said. "I feel like I dominated the fight and was giving him my all. I wanted to end the fight impressively via knock out but he has a strong jaw. This is my last six-rounder, and will move up to eight rounds in my next fight. Very excited to go there."
• Junior welterweight prospect Ruslan Madiev (6-0, 3 KOs), 22, who is from Kazakhstan and trains with countryman Golovkin in trainer Abel Sanchez's camp in Big Bear Lake, California, dropped Chicago's Sean Gee (2-3, 0 KOs) in the second round and won a lopsided decision, 40-45, 40-35 and 39-36.