Estrada squeaks by Cuadras in a StubHub thriller

Many believed this opening fight on HBO would be the fight of the night and a Fight of the Year candidate. They were right.

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Juan Francisco Estrada (right) and Carlos Cuadras delivered an action-packed bout at the StubHub Center Saturday. Photo: Mickey Bonilla, MB Sports Photography

CARSON, Calif., September 9, 2017Former world champion Juan Francisco “El Gallo” Estrada (36-3, 25 KOs) now has the opportunity to replace the word “former” with “current” in front of “world champion” after a hard-fought win over countryman and former world champion Carlos “El Principe” Cuadras of Mexico (30-2-1, 27 KOs).

Estrada won by the narrowest of margins, 114-113 on all three judges’ scorecards, based on the strength of a tenth round knockdown of Cuadras on a straight right hand blast to the head, forcing Cuadras to sit down hard.

At first, in a scenario all too familiar to fans of the Oscars and Miss Universe pageant, announced Michael Buffer called the fight in favor of Cuadras, which was in error – and a surprise to most media who believed Estrada had won. After a brief celebration, Buffer returned to the mike to correct the record. Cue the Steve Harvey memes on social media.

After the fight, Estrada described hearing the fight called for Cuadras, “I was really thrown off, I thought I won the fight clearly, I even dropped him.”

Carlos Cuadras was busy early, but Juan Francisco Estrada was the stronger puncher and it made the difference in the bout. Photo: Mickey Bonilla, MB Sports Photography

Estrada now becomes the WBC mandatory challenger for Srisikat Sor Rungvisai, who retained the WBC super flyweight title with a fourth round knockout victory over Roman Gonzalez.

Many believed this opening fight on HBO would be the fight of the night and perhaps a Fight of the Year candidate, and they were right. Cuadras and Estrada had all the ingredients in place. Aggressive, come-forward style? Check. Dislike for the opponent? Check. Something to prove? Check. Enthusiastic fans under the stars at the fight factory called the StubHub Center in Carson, California? Check.

Saturday’s version of Carlos Cuadras was far improved, but couldn’t overcome the strength of Juan Francisco Estrada. Photo: E Mulholland, HBO Boxing

Cuadras didn’t have the strongest outing in his last bout in March against David Carmona at Madison Square Garden. This version of Cuadras would have defeated Roman Gonzalez in their first fight. Unfortuantely, this version of Cuadras was facing the stronger, more precise Estrada.

Cuadras won the early rounds by being the far busier fighter. He targeted Estrada to the body and put together good-looking combinations. But it became apparently quickly that the punches weren’t hurting Estrada. As the fight moved into the middle rounds, Estrada was willing to fight much closer, throwing any caution aside. The pair started to mix it up, landing both to the body and head. Estrada’s straight rights and upper cuts were finding homes.

Cuadras started to slow down as Cuadras gained ground, but he was still throwing and landing. He seemed to lack the power to hurt Estrada the way Estrada was hurting him. But it was a matter of degree; both men are plenty tough and stayed plenty busy. The first clench of the fight didn’t happen until round eight.

Juan Francisco Estrada is now the mandatory WBC challenger after defeating Carlos Cuadras. Photo: Ed Mulholland, HBO Boxing

With Estrada coming on and Cuadras fading, plus the knockdown, it was Estrada’s night and the capacity crowd of 7,418 at the StubHub Center anticipated hearing Estrada’s name. When they didn’t, reactions ranged from surprise to outrage, though it was close. When the record was corrected it was a jaw dropper but not a shock.

“I’m very happy for my win agains Carlos Cuadras, a great former champion,” said Estrada. “I think I showed everybody at super flyweight, I’m also going to become a world champion. I hope that HBO keeps supporting me so I can keep giving the fans great fights like this in the United States. I hope everybody enoyed the show between two Mexicans, it ended up being a real war.”

READ MORE: Rungvisai knocks out Gonzalez, proves first win was no fluke

On the non-televised undercard, American super flyweight Brian Viloria (36-7, 23 KOs) of Hawaii, continued his successful comeback at age 36 with a fifth round TKO win over Miguel Cartegena (15-5-1, 6 KOs) of Philadelphia. Viloria, who had been out of the ring nearly two years save for a tune-up fight in March after losing to Roman Gonzalez in November 2015, decided he wasn’t quite finished with boxing.

Cartegena started the fight strong, hurting Viloria with several strong shots and through the first three rounds was getting the better of Viloria. But Viloria got his bearings by the end of the third round and began returning fire. In the fourth, Viloria hurt Cartegena, although he didn’t knock him down. He tried to finish him off, but Cartegena made it out of the round. Just 35 seconds into the fifth, Viloria hit Cartegena with a single pounding punch. Again, Cartegena stayed on his feet, but referee Raul Caiz Sr. saw something he didn’t like and stopped the bout.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.

Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.

Copyright © 2017 by Falcon Valley Group

 

 

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