Roman 'Chocolatito' Gonzalez hopes to return to ring before end of year

Junior bantamweight Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez, the former four-division world champion who reigned as boxing's pound-for-pound king just a couple of years ago, hopes to be back in the ring again before the end of the year.

Gonzalez is back in training just a few weeks after he returned from a one-year layoff to pummel former strawweight world titlist Moises Fuentes in a fifth-round knockout victory on Sept. 15 on the Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin II undercard at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

"I want to fight in December, but we do not know what might happen," Gonzalez said. "They have not told me anything about an upcoming fight or date or rival, but I decided to return to the gym as soon as possible because I want to be ready for when an opportunity presents itself. The idea is to remain in the best possible condition in my quest to return to being world champion."

The win over Fuentes ended Gonzalez's two-fight losing streak to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, who took Gonzalez's junior bantamweight world title in March 2017 by controversial majority decision followed by a brutal fourth-round knockout in the rematch 13 months ago.

Although Gonzalez (47-2, 39 KOs), 31, of Nicaragua, boxed at junior bantamweight when he faced Mexico's Fuentes (25-6-1, 14 KOs) last month, his goal is to eventually move up to bantamweight and seek a world title in a fifth weight class.

Carlos Blandon, Gonzalez's manager, told ESPN that he is hoping that Gonzalez's co-promoters, Akihiko Honda of Teiken Boxing and Tom Loeffler of 360 Promotions, can line something up for him before the end of the year.

"We were happy with the result [against] Fuentes, and Roman is back in the gym and is looking to stay active. We have not sat down with Teiken nor spoken to Tom, but we will be ready for the earliest fight that pops up," Blandon said. "Roman is happy to have a team again and hopes more fights are still to come. He plans on staying focused and ready for any opportunity."

Gonzalez's past seven fights have all been on HBO or HBO PPV, and the network had built cards around him. He was also the key figure in the creation of the "Superfly" series of shows. But with HBO announcing last week that it will drop boxing coverage by the end of the 2018 -- after 45 years of televising the sport -- it is unclear on which platform Gonzalez will next fight.

Loeffler and Top Rank have discussed the possibility of bringing the "Superfly" series to ESPN, where Top Rank is only a few months into a seven-year contract with the network. Before HBO announced its plans to throw in the towel on boxing, there was discussion that Gonzalez could be part of a "Superfly 4" card in early 2019.