Roman Gonzalez wins 12-round slugfest with Carlos Cuadras

INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Roman Gonzalez won a world championship in his fourth weight class Saturday night, taking a unanimous decision over Carlos Cuadras to claim the WBC 115-pound title belt.

The Nicaraguan pound-for-pound star better known as Chocolatito persevered through a brutal slugfest with Cuadras, who was outstanding on the biggest stage of his career. The fighters traded big shots and frenetic flurries for 12 rounds, but Gonzalez's remarkable skills earned the victory on all three cards, 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113.

The Associated Press also scored it 115-113 as Gonzalez (46-0) surpassed his mentor, Alexis Arguello, by becoming the first Nicaraguan to win titles in four divisions.

Gonzalez was thoroughly tested by Cuadras (35-1-1), who fearlessly took the star's biggest shots in a name-making performance.

A vociferous crowd of 6,714 at the famed Forum roared for both fighters through 12 punishing rounds, alternating chants of "Nicaragua!" and "Mexico!"

Gonzalez appeared to lose none of his power or speed when he moved up 3 pounds from flyweight to super flyweight. He attacked Cuadras from the opening moments with relentless combinations, pressuring with his usual stellar footwork and movement.

But Cuadras replied with toughness and flair, shuffling his feet to taunt Gonzalez in the middle rounds. He repeatedly caught Chocolatito with creative shots while Gonzalez relentlessly stalked the champion.

Blood began dripping from a cut near Cuadras' right eye in the ninth round, but Chocolatito's face swelled on the right side in the late rounds as well.

Cuadras reacted with disappointment when the verdict was announced, while Gonzalez celebrated the latest superlative in his rising career.

Japan's Yoshihiro Kamegai also stopped Mexico's Jesus Soto Karass after the eighth round on the undercard, winning a rematch of their entertaining draw five months ago. Deep into another brutal bout, Kamegai (27-3-2, 24 KOs) finally wobbled Soto Karass (28-11-4) with a big right hand in the eighth, and his corner waved off the fight moments later.

The 29-year-old Gonzalez has assumed a spot among the top pound-for-pound fighters in boxing during a steady rise through the lightest weight classes. He moved into the U.S. spotlight in his last three bouts by fighting in the co-main events of shows starring Gennady Golovkin, the unbeaten middleweight champion.

With Golovkin fighting Kell Brook in London on Saturday, Gonzalez assumed the headlining role at the Forum -- and he was ready for the spotlight.

Gonzalez's streak of 10 straight stoppages ended at the Forum five months ago, when McWilliams Arroyo survived a lopsided loss on his feet. Gonzalez defended his WBC flyweight title in that bout, and he kept that 112-pound belt while moving up to fight Cuadras.

Gonzalez wanted the fourth title to avenge Alexis Arguello, the most accomplished boxer in Nicaragua's history and a mentor to Gonzalez. Arguello fell just short of a title in a fourth weight class during two memorable losses to Aaron Pryor 34 years ago.

Fans who arrived early in Inglewood watched Golovkin's fifth-round stoppage of Brook on outdoor video boards.