Eight years in the making, Juan Francisco Estrada finally avenged his loss to Roman Gonzalez with a split decision victory to unify the WBA/WBC 115lbs World titles.
Both boxers showed signs of improvement from their first encounter, as well as the clear respect between the two warriors who searched for their angles in round one to launch an onslaught.
It was ‘Gallo’, the naturally bigger man, who first found it easier to find the openings and forced Gonzalez to fire back in round two, igniting a firefight. Back-and-forth action ensued, with both men not wanting to give an inch.
Defence was held in high regard here, as thudding punches from both sides landed on gloves, but the aggressor Chocolatito was cutting off the ring and pushing the Mexican towards the ropes.
The Nicaraguan began to show why he is the living legend, being the more calculated fighter, the little inches and angles allowed him to get on the inside of Estrada and stagger him at times. The Mexican’s fast hands held him in good stead, however it was soon clearly becoming Gonzalez’s fight.
The fight opened up more in the sixth session, with both men willing to trade without giving an inch. There, Estrada found some success in slipping punches and countering to keep his Nicaraguan counterpart at bay.
In the second half of the fight, Estrada had grown in confidence and found advantages to turn the fight in his favour. By blocking, countering and spinning Chocolatito away, he started to gain some well needed rounds back.
It appeared to be the turning of the tide, as Gonzalez seemed to slow down momentarily. However, the future Hall of Famer proved his class by bouncing back with a second burst of energy morphed into a crafty pressure attack.
Watching in awe, the fighters kept throwing punches constantly throughout the latter stages of their bout, beating their previous fight record of over 2,000 punches thrown. Chocolatito was winning clearly on my card going into the championship rounds and victory seemed certain.
However, boxing is always surprising me as it did with this fight. Juan Francisco Estrada earned a split decision victory with one atrocious scorecard of 117-111 and another of 115-113 in his favour.
The super flyweight division has been piping hot for the past few years and with that contest, the recognition in that weight class will only continue to grow. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai is up next, but I would much prefer to see Estrada-Gonzalez 3, which the Mexican stated his interest in after the fight.
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