Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez are finally set for their long-awaited rematch, as the two meet in the main event of Saturday night’s show from Dallas, streaming live on DAZN (8 pm ET).
Does Estrada get his revenge after eight-plus years, or can Gonzalez turn him back once more?
Scott Christ (10-4-1)
I have gone back and forth, forth and back, round and round trying to decide on a winner in this fight. We wanted to see it for years, then the idea was that Chocolatito was probably past it, and then he showed he’s not, and we’re right back to this being a great fight again.
They’ve both got world titles, you could argue them as 1-2 in the division, or at the very least two of a very strong top four. I think most have felt for a while that Estrada beats Gonzalez in a rematch, but I watch them fight still and I think I lean toward the Nicaraguan great still. Estrada got taken to hell before stopping Carlos Cuadras — a very good fighter at his best, mind you — last time out, and I think there was a lot in that fight where Gonzalez can look at what Cuadras did well and execute it even better. I think he’s still the better fighter in close quarters, and Estrada isn’t some monster puncher or anything, he’s not feather-fisted at all but I don’t see his raw power making the difference. This is a rare matchup: two top fighters, fighting for legacy and current standing, in a matchup you could reasonably see going either way. However it turns out, savor it. Gonzalez UD-12
Wil Esco (10-4-1)
It’s good to have good fights back on the schedule. It feels like forever ago that Chocolatito was reigning as pound-for-pound king, only to be stomped into the ground by Srisaket Sor Rungvisai a few years ago. Of course Chocolatito would also lose his longtime trainer, which obviously affected him, but my biggest concern about him now is age and attrition. Gonzalez has had a really good career but I can’t help but think that although he’s still very skilled, he’s a diminished version of himself. There’s something to be said about getting long in the tooth, and I think Chocolatito is in that category.
None of that is to say that Chocolatito isn’t still capable of beating plenty of good fighters, but in this particular fight I just think Gonzalez will have the edge in a fight that should feature plenty of action. But as the rounds and punishment wears on both fighters, I think Estrada will be better suited to tough it out down the stretch. I’ll take Estrada to win by decision. Estrada UD-12
How to Watch Estrada vs Chocolatito 2
Patrick L. Stumberg (10-4-1)
As this fight percolated these last few years, the prevailing theory seemed to be that Estrada could capitalize on Gonzalez’s decline to even the score. Frankly, I’m not convinced. Rumors of “Chocolatito’s” demise were greatly exaggerated; though still unable to cause the sort of devastation he wreaked against smaller opposition, he looked every bit the pound-for-pound monster of old in last year’s victories over Kal Yafai. You also have to remember that Estrada, who’s just three years younger than the supposed elder statesman before him, has had his fair share of wars as well in addition to some persistent hand injuries.
Based on their most recent performances, I have to favor “Chocolatito.” I genuinely believe he can bully Estrada the way Carlos Cuadras did in the latter two’s epic rematch, and his ability to do damage in the pocket still outstrips “El Gallo’s.” In what may be the last great fight these two have in them, Gonzalez steadily overpowers Estrada to make it 2-0. Gonzalez UD-12
Lewis Watson (10-4-1)
I love this fight. We all love this fight. Instead of rattling on for 1000s of unnecessary characters, I’m going to keep this one short and sweet. Choco is my guy, and I honestly think that the way he has naturally faded won’t impact his chances as much as Estrada. Sure, Choco has three years on “El Gallo” but unless the Mexican can use his once-perfect feet in getting out of range from Gonzalez’s front-foot pressure, then I can see Gonzalez taking the second half of the fight as he continues to bomb forward and throw timber. SSR had his number – it happens – but he’s looked sharp and aggressive ever since and he’s still shown the ability to throw punch after punch over the distance. Estrada is fantastic and is arguably the more suited to the weight, but he’s also seen his share of wars and my gut is telling me Choco could break him down the stretch. But what do I know. What do any of us know. All I know is that this is gonna be a banger and I can’t wait. Gonzalez MD-12