Derek Bonnett watches Juan Francisco Estrada get off the floor to retain his title against old foe Carlos Cuadras and now meets Roman Gonzalez
I’ve done nothing to hide my excitement and passion for boxing’s lightest divisions and the performances of Juan Francisco Estrada, Roman Gonzalez, and Julio Cesar Martinez screamed for more support from the masses. Carlos Cuadras and Israel Gonzalez did their part also in losing, but heroic efforts. The world title triple-header took place at Gimnasio TV Azteca in Distrito Federal, Mexico with little more than essential staff on hand.
In the main event, Juan Francisco Estrada climbed off the canvas in round three of his rematch with Carlos Cuadras. The first time around, Estrada won by three counts of 114-113 with a 10th-round knockdown making the difference.
The war began at the opening bell this time and saw crisper punching from Estrada and heavy hands from Cuadras. An uppercut caught a back-pedalling Estrada in the third and a left hook put the champion to the canvas. Estrada rose, but gave up much of his smoother boxing ability and began out-slugging Cuadras, with a huge payday with ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez on the line.
Both fighters appeared stunned at different points in the fourth. Estrada enjoyed good results with his body attack, but he focused more on Cuadras’ head. The champion kept a steadier volume, but Cuadras continued to press forward. By the sixth it was an all-out brawl and the boxer was getting the better of it. Cuadras again looked hurt in that round and his tank seemed to be draining.
However, every time he seemed ready to fold, he’d come back with heavy artillery fire. Estrada would touch the body each round and seemingly hurt the former titlist, but he never committed, allowing his challenger to hang on. Cuadras surged in the 10th and put forth better work in combination punching, albeit wildly. He managed to cut the champion for a symbolic edge as well.
However, Estrada brought the curtain down in round 11. ‘El Gallo’ dropped Cuadras with a left hook that sent the challenger to the canvas along the ropes. Cuadras rose, but was soon down again courtesy of a right hook. The challenger again got up, but refused to hold. He brawled as best he could before he was overwhelmed by a barrage of power punches which prompted the referee to intervene at 2-22 of the round.
Estrada, 30, retained his title for the second time and improved to 41-3 (28). Cuadras, 32, dropped to a well-travelled 39-4-1 (27).
In the co-feature, Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez had a tough night’s work in his first title defense against Israel Gonzalez. Chocolatito, 33, outworked a man 10 years his junior to retain the title he won from Kal Yafai in February. The other Gonzalez lost a moderately controversial decision to Yafai in 2018.
The challenger got off to a good start and used his height, reach and speed to jump out to an early lead on Seconds Out’s unofficial card.
The champion began to cut the distance on his younger challenger, enjoying three inches in height advantage. By the middle rounds we started to see some vintage work from the Nicaraguan icon as he pressed Gonzalez to the ropes to land combinations to the body and head.
Chocolatito began to school Israel and piled up a points lead that kept growing until late in the fight. Israel landed considerable shots to the head of the champion, but he lacked top-level power to hurt or damage the Nicaraguan. The taller Mexican landed well with his uppercut and gave it a real go at times, which bodes well for his future. Israel won the ninth and 10th rounds unofficially.
Chocolatito resumed control in the championship rounds and finished the fight again bullying a man a decade his junior along the ropes with searing shots to the body and head in combination.
The three judges saw the contest 118-110, 117-111 and 116-112. Chocolatito, 33, will never reclaim his youth, but he seems to have his confidence back and has now turned back the efforts of two world-class foes since his defeats to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in 2017. He will face Estrada in a rematch with a record of 50-2 (41). Chocolatito won their first fight by unanimous decision back in 2012.
Israel Gonzalez fell to 25-4 (11). Three of the defeats are in world title bouts.
Also on the card, Julio Cesar Martinez stopped late replacement Moises Calleros in round two. Calleros weighed in at 117.5lbs thus eliminating his opportunity to claim Martinez’ flyweight title. ‘El Rey’ dropped Calleros in the opening round and had him wobbling for the remainder of the fight. The champion was unrelenting as he pounded away with customary bad intentions until the referee intervened to spare Calleros at 2-42.
Martinez, 25, improved to 17-1 (13) and made his second title defence. The flyweight titlist greatly desires to join the party three pounds north at super-flyweight.
Also on the card, popular DAZN prospects Diego Pacheco and Austin Williams advanced their careers winning by TKO in rounds two and five respectively. Otha Jones III was lucky to remain unbeaten with a draw, versus Kevin Montiel Mendoza.