Written by Tré Berry III | 03/14/2021
Somehow the rematch, 8 years removed from the original classic, superseded it, staking an instant flag for 2021 in Fight of the Year standards, that will be a very tough act to follow. In an all time encounter that felt like round 13-24 instead of 1-12, by way of the Judges, 🇲🇽Juan Francisco Estrada (42-3-0, 28KO) retained his RING & WBC belts, while adding 🇳🇮Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez’s (50-3-0, 41KO) WBA belt to the mix, however the fight verdict, didn’t appear to match what was seen by many onlookers tonight, and they may have a credible case as to how they feel about it.
While the fight verdict and scoring portion of the equation may take over as the overarching story of the night, let us keep the spotlight on the fighters, and the bout in which they produced. Tonight’s fight was eerily reminiscent to the give-and-take wars that 🇲🇽Erik Morales and 🇲🇽Marco Antonio Barrera gave to us, a total of 3 times. For our sake, given the “official count”, let us hope that both Chocolatito and Estrada will give us a 3rd fight, as they still have more to fight for.
NOW ONTO THE FULL FIGHT BREAKDOWN OF THEIR COVETED, EPIC REMATCH
To start the fight, Chocolatito landed several lead right hands, and was outsmarting the divisions Champion, often striking first, and taking advantage of Estrada’s periodically leaky defense up top. By round 3, it was very back and forth in its skirmishes, as both had standout moments landing flush right hands, with both trying to exert ring dominance, with little separating the two in terms of real-estate.
Chocolatito seemed to establish the upper hand in the fiery exchanges in the trenches, bringing relentless pressure, while Estrada kept timing, and firing the uppercut, finding mixed success with doing so. In round 5, Chocolatito opened up the full arsenal, mixing up multiple combinations both upstairs, downstairs, and utilizing different punches during the combination patterns. Estrada didn’t seem to have any defense for the right hand, as he kept getting scraped by it in the first half of the fight.
Round 6, El Gallo had himself a desperately strong rebound round, staking claim by landing heavy right uppercuts that started to bother the Nicaraguan legend. Round 7 was a strong one, as Chocolatito continued to march, digging down, but Estrada met fire with fire when it came to his tenacity, and landed many punches in sequence, including a beautiful 5-punch combination to the head, with all shots landing flush to the face, drawing ooh’s and ahh’s from the crowd.
Chocolatito realized as the fight went on, that if he could elongate the right hand, that he would have greater connectivity in terms of percentage, so he continued to throw it. For the first time in the fight, both took a breather in round 8, indicative of how hard they were working to try to overtake the other. Round 9 was perhaps Gonzalez best round. He had Estrada timed almost perfectly, routinely picking off, and countering nearly everything inside the first 2 minutes of the stanza. Estrada did finish the round strong, but from our estimation, he didn’t quite do enough to pull the round off.
Round 10 was very interesting, as Chocolatito by far had his best defensive round, linking it well to his combination counterpunching, making Estrada miss, and he made him miss often. Though he was missing the target, Estrada’s determination and output went up. Down the stretch in the Championship rounds, both showed true Championship merit, as the two Hall-of-Famer’s went for the full gusto. Chocolatito appeared to take the 11th round, but Estrada came up huge in willing himself with a big effort in the 12th round, and as the final bell went off, things became interesting, pondering how the scorecards were going to be tallied.
The scorecards were….interesting to say the least…well at least one in particular (we will highlight exactly who that errant Judge was). By way of Split Decision, Juan Francisco Estrada was awarded the victory. The majority of fans that came out to the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas were not too fond of the decision, although it felt like Estrada had a few more fans in attendance, but were expressive fans, and honest to what they felt they had witnessed throughout this match.
Estrada basked in his major moment. He communicated his desires to get a third rubber match with mandatory challenger and former King 🇹🇭Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, but he also left the door open to a possible third Gonzalez dust-up. Chocolatito, perhaps one of the nicest, most humble fighters to ever lace up a pair of gloves, added to that growing mystique, giving blessings, and showing humility, saying this is how God wanted it, and that he was fine either way with the outcome. He too would like to fight Rungvisai, and naturally Estrada again.
All in all, this was certainly one of the best fights that we have gotten in the last 5 years, and it was from 2 fighters who never disappoint, coming from a Super-Flyweight division that keeps on giving – a division where none of its major operators play any games, and is privy to just getting down to business. A hats-off to these two little giants for giving us 12 more rounds of what boxing is supposed to embody.
As you can see, it is Judge Carlos Sucre that is now coming under immediate fire from fans, fighters, and pundits for the unacceptably wide card. It is a common theme lately that in virtually all major fights these days, there is one head-scratcher of a card, and patterns tell the story. Perhaps there is something to that in the form of shadiness, so that has to be considered going forward in analyzing scoring patterns.