UPDATE: It’s official.
'El Rey' steps up— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) January 25, 2022
Julio Cesar Martinez will face Chocolatito on March 5 after Juan Francisco Estrada was ruled out due to COVID. pic.twitter.com/euyzG5j5r5
“I am thrilled that I am able to move up in weight and fight the very best straight away,” said Martinez. “Chocolatito is a living legend and a fighter I have always admired, so to be fighting him in my first fight at super flyweight is special — but on the night, it’s going to be war and I am ready for it.
“I have ambitions to unify the flyweight division and that flame still burns, but this fight is so huge for me, and I did not hesitate to accept it – I promise the fans that I will put on a show.”
The bad news: ESPN’s Salvador Rodriguez recently revealed that Juan Francisco Estrada had withdrawn from his March 5th rubber match with Chocolatito Gonzalez due to sub-optimal performance in training, possibly due to the lingering effects of COVID. This is the latest in a string of setbacks which have kept the combatants out of action since their terrific rematch last March.
The good news: Rodriguez now reports that Gonzalez will instead face WBC flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez in what would be Martinez’s first proper super flyweight bout. No word yet as to how it’ll affect the WBC’s mini-tourney, which also includes Srisaket Sor Rungvisai vs Carlos Cuadras 2 for the super flyweight title on February 5th.
It’s hard to imagine this being anything other than a Fight of the Year candidate. These are two of the most potent offensive fighters in the entire sport, Gonzalez (50-3, 41 KO) a technician nonpareil and Martinez (18-1, 14 KO) a whirlwind of offbeat brutality. Gonzalez is clearly fighting above his ideal weight at 115, so size shouldn’t be an issue.
I was hoping to see Martinez unify with Sunny Edwards after that terribly disappointing no-contest with McWilliams Arroyo, but I can’t exactly complain about this. As for whether he’ll stay at 115 full-time or return to 112 to settle unfinished business, you’ll know as soon as we do.