Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez both won tonight in Mexico City, likely setting up a long-awaited rematch between the two junior bantamweight titleholders for 2021.
Estrada (41-3, 28 KO) won another rematch in tonight’s DAZN main event, dropping an extremely tough and game Carlos Cuadras twice en route to an 11th round stoppage victory. The 30-year-old “El Gallo” climbed off the canvas himself in the third round, retaining his WBC 115-pound title with the win.
Estrada and Cuadras (39-4-1, 27 KO) started pretty hot, and the pace never really slowed down. The end result was a Fight of the Year shortlist candidate, and would be a pretty strong contender in a more normal year, one where we didn’t have something like Zepeda-Baranchyk.
WHAT A FIGHT!— DAZN USA (@DAZN_USA) October 24, 2020
Highlights from Estrada vs. Cuadras round 5. pic.twitter.com/LoR7ElFYM0
ESTRADA WINS IT IN ROUND 11!— DAZN USA (@DAZN_USA) October 24, 2020
ONE OF THE BEST FIGHTS THIS YEAR. pic.twitter.com/LqRqaKbecW
Estrada now figures — though it’s not guaranteed — to meet WBA titlist Roman “Chocolatito” in a unification fight next year. That was the hype coming in, and one figures Matchroom have it pretty much close to done at the least if they sold these fights so much on that idea. Then again, it’s boxing; when has truth in the sale ever been important?
But hopefully that is what we get. Gonzalez beat Estrada when the two were at 108 pounds way back in 2012, and Estrada has chased Chocolatito up through the weights trying to get him in the ring again. It’s now back to being a highly in-demand fight, as they’re both fighting very well and still match on paper to produce an excellent clash.
Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez UD-12 Israel Gonzalez
A good performance from Chocolatito, who notches the 50th win of his storied career in solid fashion against a game but in the end over-matched Israel Gonzalez, who falls to 0-3 in world title fights in his young career.
Chocolatito (50-2, 41 KO) felt out the taller, longer, younger fighter in the early going, but once the middle rounds came he had the fight pretty well in hand. Once Israel Gonzalez (25-4, 11 KO) started losing a bit of spring in his step, which came in part because Chocolatito came with constant, smart pressure, and began cutting the ring off well, the fight was basically over.
That’s not to say that the 23-year-old challenger didn’t give his best effort, because he did for all 12 rounds. It just wasn’t close to enough to get a win here. Chocolatito took this on scores of 116-112, 117-111, and 118-110. Bad Left Hook had it 119-109 for the Nicaraguan legend, giving Israel Gonzalez only the first round, though he had an argument in a couple others.
A vintage Chocolatito performance for win number 5⃣0⃣. pic.twitter.com/DjcpiXD2TY— DAZN USA (@DAZN_USA) October 24, 2020
It’s hard to say that Chocolatito is “as good as ever” because he’s probably not, but he is still a hell of a fighter, and is going to be extremely tough to beat at this weight. Someone like Srisaket Sor Rungvisai might always overpower him at this point, but there aren’t a whole lot of Rungvisais in the game, either.
Julio Cesar Martinez TKO-2 Moises Calleros
Calleros came in on short notice here after Martinez’s original opponent tested positive for COVID last weekend, and then Calleros blew weight by almost two divisions, which wasn’t surprising given the factors, like coming in on short notice and having blown weight repeatedly before.
At any rate, Martinez keeps his WBC flyweight title with an easy demolition job on the over-matched 31-year-old Calleros (33-10-1, 17 KO), who was dropped in the first and never was able to really do anything with Martinez (17-1, 13 KO). The referee stopped it late in the second when Martinez was just unloading on Calleros, who looked sluggish and had nothing to offer in return fire.
Martinez with a quick first round knockdown! pic.twitter.com/p94outPUaZ— DAZN USA (@DAZN_USA) October 24, 2020
An absolutely DOMINANT performance by El Rey! pic.twitter.com/jqexCCebHy— DAZN USA (@DAZN_USA) October 24, 2020
Everyone loves the 25-year-old Martinez, and rightly so. He’s fun to watch, a smarter, more patient fighter than he might seem on the surface. This is a win that gets him active again and moving forward, which winds up being the most important thing. He’s talked about moving up to 115 to fight the big dogs at that weight, which could be really interesting in the next couple of years. As a fan, I kinda hope he sticks at 112 for at least one or two more fights, at least if he can get Moruti Mthalane, Artem Dalakian, or the Nakatani-Magramo winner in a unification, maybe, or someone like Angel Acosta who can really bang.
- Diego Pacheco TKO-2 Juan Antonio Mendez: An easy, short night for the 19-year-old Pacheco (10-0, 8 KO), a 6’4” super middleweight with a lot of upside. Matchroom like him a lot and have included him on a lot of notable cards over the last couple years. Mendez (12-3-2, 10 KO) is a 33-year-old part-time fighter who presented no danger here, and even at a really young age it’s time for Pacheco to step it up a little, because he’s not gonna learn anything more against these guys. I mean, don’t put him in with Clay Collard, but someone who can hang around a bit, maybe.
- Austin Williams TKO-5 Esau Herrera: Williams is a 24-year-old middleweight from Houston, a former American amateur standout, didn’t have any real problem here with the 36-year-old veteran Herrera, who seemed more interested in begging the referee to call low blows that weren’t, and hurling his head toward the prospect. Williams (6-0, 5 KO) got the stoppage when the referee stepped in about halfway into the fifth round after Williams landed a clean left hand up top, which was fair enough, as Herrera (19-12-1, 8 KO) wasn’t in any danger of winning rounds, let alone the fight. A useful fight for Williams, though, if nothing else he learned that there are definitely some fighters who will try to stink it out and dip into the bag of tricks just to hang around. Herrera was looking beaten, largely due to some decent body work from Williams, and it’s always good to see prospects look to the body with consistency.
- Otha Jones III D-6 Kevin Montiel Mendoza: A split draw in this one, with one card even at 57-57, and the other two scored 58-56, one in favor of each fighter. All the scores and the result are fair. The 20-year-old Jones (5-0-1, 2 KO) was the prospect here on paper, with Mendoza (6-0-1, 3 KO) coming in on a day’s notice for the 130-pound fight. But Toledo’s Jones really disappointed in this one, just not a promising showing. There was some talk in his corner about the air (it’s an outdoor set-up) bothering him, the elevation in Mexico City can be a problem for sure, and the air pollution isn’t great, either, to put it lightly. He seemed to lack energy, he was lethargic here. Mendoza wasn’t great, but he out-worked Otha in enough rounds to earn the draw, I thought. Jones is young and things happen, so we’ll see going forward, but it’s impossible not to see this result as a disappointment. At the same time, hey, Mendoza’s 21, might be worth keeping an eye on.