Collision course: Estrada and Cuadras go to war; rematch with Roman ahead
SAN DIEGO, Calif. October 23, 2020 – The reigning WBC World Super Flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada of Mexico and WBA World Super Flyweight champion Roman Gonzalez of Nicaragua could be headed for a rematch after delivering victories on Friday in Mexico City.
“El Gallo” first had to win his rematch against countryman Carlos “Principe” Cuadras, and the challenger wasn’t about to make it easy. The first fight was won by the margin of a single point for a knockdown by Estrada. In their second fight, Estrada (41-3, 28 KOs) and Cuadras (39-4-1, 27 KOs) upped their game with a legitimate Fight of the Year 2020 candidate. Estrada recovered from an early knockdown to score two of his own before finally stopping a determined Cuadras at 2:22 of Round 11.
Both men came out swinging, and never let up. Cuadras caught Estrada by surprise with a hard right uppercut followed by a left hook in the third, dropping Estrada. It was no flash knockdown. Cuadras tried to finish Estrada off, while the champion needed to get back into the fight. Estrada continued working to the Cuadras body with repeated left hooks, the classic liver shot, mixing in hard rights to the head.
Estrada landed another left hook on Cuadras in the fifth, and the tide turned back in favor of Estrada. Cuadras began to look shaky, but he wasn’t about to let the fight slip through his hands. Just as it looked like he might be finished, he would rally and win a round with well-placed headshots.
Estrada scored again with a liver shot in the sixth round; Cuadras was hurt but didn’t go down. Estrada’s corner urged him to try and finish Cuadras off. Estrada blasted Cuadras, who was breathing heavily with his mouth open. Estrada landed a hard right, but still, Cuadras kept coming. Estrada was in control and looking for the winning punch.
“Hold your ground, look for that right hand! You know it’s going to come!” said trainer Rudy Hernandez in Cuadras’ corner.
Through three more brutally tough rounds, the pair carried on. Estrada would briefly gain ground, but then Cuadras would summon superhuman effort to counterpunch. Cuadras was willing to take multiple headshots as long as he could guard against the liver shots.
At the start of the 11th round, Estrada came out blasting, and knocked down Cuadras in the first 15 seconds of the round. The body shots had taken their toll, allowing Estrada to drop Cuadras with a right hook. Cuadras got to his feet, and the action continued. Estrada dropped Cuadras again face down. The fight seemed over. No. Cuadras had never been stopped, and he wasn’t going to give up. He slowly got to his feet, and all but begged the referee to let him continue. Estrada knew now he could close the show, and after 30 more seconds the referee stepped in to save Cuadras. It was a tremendous display of heart and courage by both men.
At age 30, Estrada has never looked better. Estrada threw a career-high 1110 punches (in less than 11 rounds) vs. Cuadras, landing 387, his second-best total landed. He has Cuadras to thank for a wildly entertaining fight.
Chocolatito Gonzalez puts on a boxing clinic
Yes, he really is back.
The return of Nicaragua’s Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (50-2, 41 KOs) continued with a solid outing against an aggressive attempted challenge from Israel Gonzalez of Mexico (25-4, 11 KOs). Gonzalez battered the young Mexican for 12 hard rounds, retaining his WBA World Super Flyweight World title by unanimous decision. Scores were 118-110, 117-111, and 116-112.
Give the young Mexican challenger credit for coming out aggressively against a fighter who is a sure Hall of Fame inductee by his peers in boxing. Gonzalez scored with well-placed headshots; if he had more power, the veteran Nicaraguan could have been in serious trouble. He had his moments, and he didn’t embarrass himself. Only a handful of fighters have ever gone the distance against Chocolatito.
But Roman Gonzalez has more tools to deploy: ring generalship, footwork, solid head movement, defense, and effective aggression. Marry the skills to his nonstop work rate even at age 33, and there was little the challenger could offer. Israel Gonzalez stayed in front of the champion for too long instead of moving laterally. He felt the pressure Chocolatito applies to his opponents and dismantles them even in difficult fights. Israel Gonzalez wasn’t given a second to regroup.
After a spirited effort by the Mexican, Roman Gonzalez was in complete control by the sixth round and looked like the fighter who sat atop the pound-for-pound rankings for many years. Add his punching accuracy to the relentless pressure while easily evading any countershots, and there was no way out. Gonzalez doesn’t dazzle, but his skills should be shown to every aspiring young champion.
With the win in the main event by Estrada, the pair should be headed for a long-awaited rematch. Estrada has wanted to avenge his loss to Gonzalez for eight years. It’s a fight that deserves a massive audience. Here’s hoping fans get to see it up close in 2021.
Julio Cesar Martinez gets down to business in two rounds
WBC World Flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez of Mexico City (17-1, 13 KOs) had no warm-up time before getting in the ring against journeyman Moises Calleros of Mexico (33-10-1, 17 KOs). He didn’t need it. Martinez showed why he’s a rising star in the competitive flyweight division with a successful title defense by second-round TKO.
Martinez came out guns blazing from the opening bell, scoring a knockdown in the first minute of their bout. Martinez displayed immense punching power for a flyweight or any weight division. His fleet balanced footwork and ability to switch to a southpaw stance allowed him to land power shots at will without much risk. Calleros, who came in five pounds over the weight limit, had nothing to offer other than a tough chin. With seconds left in the second round, Martinez teed off with multiple hard headshots, and the referee moved in quickly to protect Calleros, giving Martinez the second-round TKO at 2:42.
Martinez would love to move up to super flyweight and fight either of the night’s winners. Neither of them should be in any hurry to entertain this idea. Martinez is seriously talented.
Undercard results: Pacheco and Williams win; Jones and Mendoza draw
Super middleweight Diego Pacheco of Los Angeles (10-0, 8 KOs) delivered a second-round TKO win against Juan Antonio Mendez of Mexico (12-3-2, 10 KOs). The 19-year-old prospect looked solid, fighting up to his impressive 6-foot-4 height and working well to the body of Mendez. In the second round, Pacheco delivered successful uppercuts, and it was adding up to too much punishment for Mendez, causing the referee to move in and call it a night at 2:02 of the round.
Promising young American middleweight Austin “Ammo” Williams (6-0, 5 KOs) continued his winning ways with a fifth-round TKO of Esau Herrera of Mexico (19-12-1, 8 KOs). Williams put in good, solid rounds that are valuable to a young knockout artist. In the fifth round, Williams found a home for his impressive right uppercut, and the referee decided Herrera didn’t need any more punishment at 1:36 of the round.
Otha Jones III of Toledo (5-0-1, 2 KOs) got more than he expected from replacement opponent Kevin Montiel Mendoza (6-0-1, 3 KOs) of Mexico. The pair of young, ambitious lightweights fought to a draw with scores of 58-56 each and a 57-57 card. Hat tip to both for taking the bout, and it provided a learning experience both can benefit from.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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