Estrada and Chocolatito Prevail in Mexico to Preserve Rematch and Unify 115-lb Titles

Super Flyweight champions Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman Gonzalez, a pair of current and former P4P champions, win exciting bouts inside TV Azteca Studios to set up their highly-anticipated rematch 8 years later
October 23, 2020; Mexico City, Mexico; Juan Francisco Estrada and Carlos Cuadras during their Matchroom bout on October 23, 2020. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom.

MEXICO CITY (October 23, 2020) — Current Super Flyweight champions Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez took care of their respective opponents last night in a pair of thrilling performances. The victories set up a potential rematch that’s been eight years in the making.

Gonzalez defeated Estrada back in November 2012 to retain his WBA Light Flyweight title. The two have come a long way since. WBC champion Estrada is a current pound-for-pound Top 10 fighter who owns a career-defining April 2019 victory over Srisaket Sor Rungvisai – the fighter whose two 2017 wins completely altered the status of Gonzalez.

Estrada moved to 1-1 with Sor Rungvisai. After being brutally stopped by Sor Rungvisai in September 2017, in the fourth round of their rematch, Gonzalez’ fall from boxing’s No. 1 P4P champion appeared to be a total exit from the sport.

The 33-year old Nicaraguan overcame some personal obstacles, returned to the ring and stopped Moises Fuentes a little over a year later. He picked up another stoppage in Japan in late-December 2019. Then, he proudly reintroduced himself on the world stage in February 2020. He battered undefeated Kal Yafai in Frisco, Texas, stopping him in the ninth round to become the WBA champion.

After the upset victory, Gonzalez boldly announced that redeeming himself from his rocky 2017 wasn’t complete with defeat of Yafai. His goals included fights with the current elite fighters in the division he once ruled. That short list included the rising Estrada.

Last night in Mexico City, Gonzalez (50-2, 41 KOs) got off to a bit of a slow start against two-time challenger Israel Gonzalez (25-4, 11 KOs). The champion quickly erased the 23-year old Gonzalez’ early success, and pressured and brawled his way to a unanimous title defense with cards of 118-110, 117-111 and 116-112.

October 23, 2020; Mexico City, Mexico; Roman Gonzalez and Israel Gonzalez during their Matchroom bout on October 23, 2020. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom.

With half of the anticipated rematch set, Estrada entered the ring to do his part. Carlos Cuadras’ familiarity with the champion made matters more complicated. A third round knockdown by Cuadras (39-4-1, 27 KOs) threatened Estrada even making it to the looming rematch.

Estrada (41-3, 28 KOs) handled the adversity like a champion and steadied himself. He gradually seized full control of the fight, boxing in the style of a disciplined technician that’s enabled him to ascend up the P4P rankings. In the first championship round, the 11th, Estrada fully asserted himself. He dropped the fading Cuadras twice.

Cuadras, a 32-year old former champion from Sinaloa, succumbed to a punishing body attack and a crushing right hand that dropped him face-first onto the canvas. He got up staggering on shaky legs, battled fiercely for nearly another minute before short left uppercut from Estrada opened him up to another punishing combination. Referee Jose Guadalupe Garcia stepped in a waved off the fight, with less than a minute to go, as Estrada two-handed attack knocked Cuadras backwards.

October 23, 2020; Mexico City, Mexico; Juan Francisco Estrada and Carlos Cuadras during their Matchroom bout on October 23, 2020. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom.

Now, only the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic stands in the way of the impending showdown between Estrada and Gonzalez. Settling supremacy at Super Flyweight will have to wait until some point in 2021.

Julio Cesar Martinez, the WBC Flyweight champion, will undoubtedly keep an eye on how the Estrada-Gonzalez rivalry unfolds. Unfortunately, his scheduled title defense against Maximino Flores was derailed by a positive Covid-19 test. Late replacement Moises Calleros took the assignment, but weighed in well over the 112-pound Flyweight max, coming in at 117 pounds.

Calleros (33-10-1, 17 KOs) failed miserably to take advantage of his second shot at a world title. Martinez (17-1, 13 KOs) dropped Calleros a minute into the first round. Subsequent power punches from Martinez visibly hurt Calleros. The champion patiently stalked and attacked Calleros in the second frame before erupting into a final flurry of punches that ended the fight with :18 left to go. Calleros struggled to fend off the champion, or find his way off of the ropes before the referee separated the two for a final time.

October 23, 2020; Mexico City, Mexico; Julio Cesar Martinez and Moises Calleros during their Matchroom bout on October 23, 2020. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom.
Also In Action

The top of the card was a tripleheader primarily devised to set up a meeting of world class operators in Estrada and Gonzalez. The three opening bouts presented a trio of young American fighters with a chance to gain much-needed experience in order to advance their careers.

Things went sideways in the stream’s opener for Toledo, Ohio’s Otha Jones III. Jones opted to fight Kevin Montiel Mendoza after the 21-year old accepted the fight 24 hours earlier. After the two undefeated Super Featherweights fought their 6-rounder, neither had done enough to earn the decision. The taller Jones (5-0-1, 2 KOs) spent very little time feeling out Mendoza (6-0-1, 3 KOs), and the two traded leather freely over the first round. The action was back-and-forth but some defensive lapses during Jones’ attacks inside allowed Mendoza to land several telling punches. Each fighter won a card 58-56, and the third judge submitted a 56-56 card for a split draw.

Super Middleweight Diego Pacheco, of Los Angeles, Calif., and Middleweight Austin “Ammo” Williams, Houston, Texas, both avoided disappointing silent trips back to America. Each avoided the chance for any judging surprises.

Williams picked up his sixth win with his fifth stoppage. The undefeated 24-year old paced himself while calmly taking apart Esau Herrera in the fifth round of their bout scheduled for six. The southpaw utilized his reach advantage and repeatedly rocked Herrera, from outside, with a number of left handed punches. Herrera complained of being fouled over the five one-way rounds, but objected very little when the referee halted the bout.

Pacheco is 19-years old, stands 6-foot 4-inches, and went 7-0 in 2019. He repeatedly laced the 5-foot 9-inch Juan Antonio Mendez with punishing uppercuts across their two rounds. In the second round, a series of right uppercuts busted through the high guard of Mendez (12-3-2, 10 KOs). He backed away hurt and not looking to punch, so the referee shielded him from the young Angelino and stopped the fight. Pacheco improved to 10-0 with the TKO – his eighth stoppage of his career.

All photos by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing 

RL Woodson

I'm all over the place, literally. Click on something and I'll explain it all. A Tribe Called Quest fan, Good Will Hunting, HTTR and Michigan athletics... #DLTCYO

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