Juan Francisco Estrada and Chocolatito Gonzalez lived up to their rivalry’s legend in tonight’s rubber match, with Estrada nicking a majority decision win to take the vacant WBC junior bantamweight title.
Estrada won on two cards of 115-113 and 116-112, with the third even at 114-114. Bad Left Hook’s two unofficial cards were 114-114 and 115-113 Estrada.
There will surely be calls for a fourth fight, as neither Estrada (44-3, 28 KO) nor Chocolatito (51-4, 41 KO) could be said to have put a clear stamp on this rivalry through three bouts. Many still believe Chocolatito deserved the win in their 2021 rematch, which also went to Estrada.
Tonight won’t really be terribly controversial, probably, but it was a fight that just kept getting better as it went along, too, despite lower volume than we’ve seen from both men against one another in the past.
Estrada, 32, started fast here, taking at least the bulk of the first half of the fight, probably, but then the 35-year-old Gonzalez came alive and just kept going, making an argument of it in the end, or at the least that perhaps he deserved a draw.
The fight went from “decent” in the early going, with Estrada looking sharp and some wondering if Gonzalez had just gone “past it,” to good, to damn good, and in the end to borderline great — perhaps a belief aided by the fact that these are two great fighters that boxing fans love, sure, but they’ve both earned that over the years.
“I always go from less to more. Chocolatito can’t really do that, because he’s always going at 100 miles per hour throughout the fight,” Estrada said via interpreter. “I made sure that I was counter-punching and threw a lot of punches.”
“He’s a future Hall of Famer. I won today on my own merits. I won because I was better-prepared, but I think that he still has a lot ahead of him in his career,” Estrada added.
Chocolatito said he would want to do a fourth fight “as long as they pay well,” which got smiles from everyone. He did say that he wasn’t sure yet if he would fight on, saying he’d have to speak with his family.
“My kids are the most important thing,” he said. “That’s what I have to take into consideration.”
How did you score it, and you want to see a fourth bout between the two in 2023?
Estrada vs Chocolatito 3 highlights
Undercard highlights and results
- Julio Cesar Martinez MD-12 Samuel Carmona: Gonna be a lot to discuss here. Judges had two cards of 116-112 and 117-111 for Martinez, and the third card was 114-114. I had it 115-113 Carmona, as did Wil. I won’t speak for Wil, but I had it 115-113 Carmona (8-1, 4 KO) largely because Martinez (19-1, 14 KO) was really quite bad in this fight. Carmona boxed very well in the first half of the fight, but had a clear hand injury that really limited him in the second half. Still, even when he wasn’t able to do much offensively, he still made Martinez look clueless with his footwork a lot of the time. In a few rounds, yes, Carmona was running and not much else. In the last three especially, I thought he got going just enough to win those rounds and secure the fight, but the judges didn’t see it that way. It’s not really a surprise. Martinez is going to have huge issues with guys who can box, that’s pretty clear. For Carmona, as much as this stinks to get a bad break (no pun intended) with the hand, it does put him on the map, at least.
- Diego Pacheco TKO-2 Adrian Luna: A demolition job for the 21-year-old Pacheco (17-0, 14 KO) as he closes 2022 in the ring with, at best, a sideways step against a veteran knockaround guy in Luna (24-9-2, 16 KO), leading DAZN’s Sergio Mora to declare that Pacheco is no longer a prospect, but a “serious top contender” at 168. He hasn’t beaten anyone in the top 100, but it’s fun to get excited. Luna was down three times and the referee was going to let him keep fighting, but Luna’s corner rightly and wisely stopped it.
- Cristofer Rosales UD-10 Joselito Velazquez: This one got bumped to the main card, switching places with Austin “Ammo” Williams’ fight, late in the week. It was the right call in theory, and in practice, definitely the right call. Not only did this fight have two relevant flyweights — and the winner increasingly relevant — but it wound up being an excellent, action-packed fight for all 10 rounds. Former titlist Rosales (35-6, 21 KO) keeps himself in the conversation at 112 with a win on three scores of 97-93. BLH had it 96-94 Rosales on two separate unofficial cards. It’s the first loss for Velazquez (15-1-1, 10 KO), who is older than you (or Sergio Mora) might think at 29, and is now 2-1-1 in his last four, with the draw a really lousy performance against a club fighter in May 2021. He was good here, Rosales was just better and won this fight. At 28, Rosales is actually the younger man, despite having been on the scene for years now. It’s his third straight W. If you didn’t catch this one, watch a replay, it’s a hell of a fight.
- Austin Williams UD-10 Simon Madsen (99-90, 99-90, 99-90)
- Marc Castro UD-8 Maickol Lopez (80-71, 80-71, 80-71)
- Anthony Herrera TKO-3 Christian Sullivan (1:41)
- Beatriz Ferreira TKO-2 Carisse Brown (1:20)