By Tré Berry & Jon Uddin | 03/18/2021
This past weekend, the little warriors took to center stage as Thailand’s Super-Flyweight power puncher Srisaket Sor Rungvisai positioned himself for a title shot, Estrada and Chocolatito squared off in their long awaited rematch, and the boxing world is reeling after losing an All Time Great.
EFFECT OF ESTRADA VS. CHOCOLATITO 2
JON UDDIN – It’s no surprise that Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez delivered a Fight of the Year candidate in their rematch eight years in the making Saturday night in Dallas, Texas. The fight wasn’t quite as epic as their first meeting but still a thing of technical beauty with constant action throughout as both fighters combined to throw 2,529 punches over their 12 rounds. While it seems the majority feel Gonzalez was deserving of the win, it was Estrada that left with the WBA, WBC and RING-MAGAZINE Super-Flyweight titles after claiming the split decision.
As soon as the decision was announced, predictably, the talk immediately went to a third fight and both men confirmed that they are more than willing to make it happen. Estrada was the slight betting favorite heading into Saturday’s fight, and I suspect he would enter the third bout the same.
Estrada looked stronger than he did in their first clash at 108 pounds but at this point he and Gonzalez (who has already blown me away with bouncing back from his Rungvisai losses) have both developed some war torn bodies so a big question heading into fight three will be if either fighter looks a bit worn in the ring.
That’s not to detract from what we just saw or to say we shouldn’t expect fireworks in the rubber match, but the little guys fought big this past weekend and it’s always possible those efforts used the last few drops of gas in the tank.
TRÉ BERRY III – The thing about these little giant warriors in particular, is that despite the amount of punishment that they take in their wars, they haven’t shown true signs of being shopworn yet, which is amazing given the amount of wars they have both partaken in, but also considering that both are 30 and up (Estrada 30, Gonzalez 33), for the lower weight divisions, that is considered ancient, yet they have somehow endured through it all, and still have a good deal more to give.
Now the possibility that both greats left a piece of them inside of the ring on Saturday is a feasible thought, we will see, and will hope that not too much was taken out of their remaining reservoir. If I was them, I would keep their remaining 2-3 big fights left in the division each 1 year apart, and in between, picking the easiest match-ups available in the top-10 rankings to preserve their bodies for the big bouts (when you constantly go and fight the best, you’re allowed to do that).
Now as far as their second encounter that just took place, I found it astonishing how they could pick up the remnants left over from their original bout, to where it felt like rounds 13-24 in a continuous fight. Over the years, Estrada sharpened up the 🧰toolkit little by little to get to the level he is at now, while Gonzalez endured the rollercoaster side, to see himself get back to pristine form, which is a story in & of itself.
With that being said, I still believe Chocolatito eeked out another victory over the great Mexican fighter, but it wasn’t a robbery. I’m not entirely sure what the odds would look like on a third fight, but I would assume that it would be close to even. While I have my reserves on the fight, the verdict doesn’t matter nearly as much as the fact that the two legends once again gave boxing and its fans a 🎁much needed gift.
CHOCO’S HIGH VOLUME PUNCHING EFFECT
JON UDDIN – Gonzalez never throws a punch just to throw it. Every shot has a purpose that sets up his next and flows like a river. 2,529 punches in that fight! While Estrada did his part to come to that final tally, I have to ask you where you rank Chocolatito among the all time volume punchers like legends 🇺🇸Henry Armstrong and 🇺🇸Aaron Pryor?
TRÉ BERRY III – The two things that always made Chocolatito amazing to me has been his seemingly unlimited motor, and it is further supported now being that he is still able to ramp it up in high outputs with very few breaks in the action at his advancing age. The other aspect is despite how active he is, when on top of his game, he always remained defensively responsible in between his combination punching, which is something most volume punchers cannot claim.
Yes, I agree, in terms of legendary gas-tanks, names that come to mind are Armstrong, Pryor as you mentioned…a young 🇵🇭Manny Pacquiao, 🇺🇸Sandy Saddler, and nowadays, Leo Santa Cruz. Though Heavyweights naturally don’t nearly throw as much as those in lighter weights, if you pro-rate their output compared to the rest of their division, Champs 🇺🇸Joe Frazier & 🇺🇸Rocky Marciano deserve mention.
Chocolatito through all the names listed certainly belongs, and his penchant for going all out, and throwing the kitchen sink at his opponents has galvanized the boxing public, as much as his personality has done within the last decade.
RUNGVISAI’S PLACE IN THE BIG PICTURE
JON UDDIN – 🇹🇭Srisaket Sor Rungvisai quickly took care of business Friday night in Thailand, stopping fellow country man 🇹🇭Ekkawit Songnui in 3 rounds in a bout to keep him sharp as he awaited the winner of the Estrada Chocolatito rematch.
Sor Rungvisai remains a force to be reckoned with for any of the fighters in the deep pool of the Super-Flyweight division and that includes the two greats from Mexico and Nicaragua.
Rungvisai’s heavy hands and come forward with constant pressure style has already proven to be the kryptonite to Chocolatito’s style, and while he was dominated by Estrada the last time out, I believe him staying true to his southpaw stance and inside fighting ability is key to a third fight playing out differently.
If you ask me, the Estrada Chocolatito trilogy needs to be settled before Estrada faces Rungvisai again because the Thai is primed to upset that gameplan if he gets his shot first.
TRÉ BERRY III – I believe that Rungvisai should have equal rights towards getting a fight with either one, and that both those opportunities for third fights should come without a pecking order, that it should go to whoever jumps first towards the opportunity. Though Rung doesn’t have a belt, their 3-way rivalry, and standings in the division supersede the money aspect, and even the belts that are on the line, as it is all for the glory, and legacy when it comes to those three.
Now as for the great Nicaraguan fighter, there is one thing that has to be factored into the equation that is often forgotten, not the result of what was manifesting, but the events in which brought Chocolatito Gonzalez there. For Chocolatito his regression in that 4-5 fight gap stemming from the 🇵🇷McWilliams Arroyo fight, all the way down to the 🇹🇭Srisaket Sor Rungvisai II fight – took him down a couple of levels from where he consistently performed at, that made him a longtime candidate for being Pound-4-Pound best in the world, which garnered All-Time-Great recognition.
Now a couple things had happened to him that were major contributors to his temporary 📉downfall, and they both intertwined with each other. Fighting big fights back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back put a physical strain on his body that drastically dulled his reflexes. On top of that, the main thing that crushed him was the untimely death of his former Trainer 🥋Arnulfo Obando. Considering how close a bond they had, he didn’t take it well at all, and it seeped into both his personal life, and his performances in the ring.
The tangible effect inside the ring was in him losing his edge, being rendered a couple steps slow, with the body lagging behind what the mind wanted him to execute, and from there, he became a vulnerable commodity. It just so happened that he was so good to begin with, that his regressed state at the time was still a tough out for the big dogs. He went life and death with Carlos Cuadras, who is a very good fighter, but the Chocolatito of old (and new) is designed to take apart the technical flaws that Cuadras operates with, and in his fight, Roman had a hard time pulling the trigger to get to the target.
Now as far as Rungvisai, yes he has a style that will always prove to be difficult for Gonzalez to deal with, being that Chocolatito cannot fight backing up, and Srisaket has proven to be physically stronger, and seems to be indestructible to instant punishment. With that being said, he too in his couple of fights fought the heavily impacted Gonzalez.
Even though Roman connected a lot in the first fight, you could see there wasn’t much starch behind his shots, and his normally impeccable ability to block punches with his arms, elbows and 🥊🥊gloves was nonexistent during the down times, Rungvisai was loading up and tagging a consistently wide open target at will, which is why he was able to knock Chocolatito out in devastating fashion in the second fight.
Now I bring all of this up for one reason, which I will bring up in a minute, but I will compare the similar-style career trajectory to another great, that being Miguel Angel Cotto.
When you look at Cotto’s career, it came in 3 different phases – the strong, resourceful, brut warrior who ran through countless quality fighters, who looked like someone who could probably beat anyone at his career ⛰️peak you put in front of him. He then was mentally & spiritually affected by the Antonio Margarito handwraps beating, and Cotto, for a few years, wasn’t the same fighter he used to be, to where it wouldn’t be fair for people to use that version of Miguel to make comparisons given that he wasn’t at his best.
The third phase was his resurrection under Hall-of-Fame Trainer 🥋Freddie Roach, who tied in the loose ends to get Cotto back to his original form. Now with that comparison, Chocolatito at this point of his career is in that third stage of resurrection. After taking much needed time away from the ring, gaining a rapport with his new Trainer, and rededicating himself, Gonzalez in his last 5 fights in our assessment (with previous article proof from us for those reading) have looked like what he used to be when he was in his optimal form.
Now seeing him in this form would be very interesting to see go up against Rungvisai – Could Srisaket endure the force normally associated with Chocolatito’s volume punching, this time with the conviction and snap this time behind his combinations? I suppose we will see soon, but something for us to keep an eye on, as even the sturdiest 🌳tree can be cut down by 1000 strikes with duel 🪓axes swinging away.
For the inverse, it would make it that much more impressive if Srisaket were to still beat, or knock out THIS current version of Gonzalez. The reason why I’ve strictly gone into a possible third Rungvisai vs. Chocolatito scenario, is that Srisaket has adamantly stated that he will not take any 💵stepping-aside money for the third Chocolatito/Estrada to happen, indicating that he wants the big fights as soon as possible, especially considering his age, at 34 years old, and at the short stick when it comes to available time left in the sport.
What makes Chocolatito Gonzalez a legend isn’t just his skill, it is his propensity to always push forward to get the big opportunities, and to always fight the best. I would say, wouldn’t it be a perfect ↪️redemption story arc for him to come back after climbing out of the pit that he fell in, to possibly defeat the only person to ever knock him out?
Though officially Choco is 0 – 2 against him, most of the boxing public views it as 1 – 1, and it would give both of them a chance in the mind of most viewers to settle their score with a third match, and to continue the trend of big fights to see who will shine the brightest at the end of the multiple wars, I would say that it’s only right for it to manifest that way.
TRUE WARRIOR GONE WITHOUT WARNING
JON UDDIN – Before the 115 pound warriors took the ring Saturday, we learned that we lost a legendary warrior in Middleweight great Marvelous Marvin Hagler, who passed away at the age of 66. Although I was too young to have the honor of witnessing Hagler’s greatness unfold, I spent countless hours engulfing myself in replays of his epic battles with Alan Minter, Vito Antuofermo, Mustafa Hamsho, Tony Sibson, Juan Domingo Roldan, Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard.
Hagler’s fighting spirit in the ring, his presence out of it with his no nonsense approach to the sport and almost psychotic approach to training made him the iron man of the Middleweight division, a “mans man” so to speak who didn’t need the flare, just the gloves. Among the four greats of that era that included Hearns, Leonard and Duran, Hagler was truly the 🪖Spartan of the set.
He owned the division in the 80s, and did plenty of work in the late 70s beating Bennie Briscoe and Willie Monroe while racking up 53 bouts by the time he met up with Minter in 1980. I’m sure you will have plenty to say over the coming weeks on Hagler, but tell me where he ranks for you on the all time great list?
TRÉ BERRY III – Hagler was a special one, so when the news broke, the entire boxing world froze. It always hurts more when the demise is unexpected. The appeal of Hagler was very diverse. You had people who became fans because he was the perfect representative as a blue-collared Champion, who spoke, and fought for the hardworking contingent rising up from the trenches through their own trials & tribulations.
Marvin was also a no-nonsense guy, and was one of the hardest cats to EVER put on a pair of gloves, as he was a real life 🎬Terminator – you couldn’t hurt him, you couldn’t stop his pursuit, he always remained mentally dominant through everything, and he never tired out. Hagler was in outstanding shape, and the reason being is that arguably nobody in the history of boxing ever trained as hard as the Marvelous one did (🇺🇸Floyd Mayweather Jr. has a credible case in that regard).
Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with what I am about to say about 🇺🇸Sugar Ray Leonard, in fact, he earned his right through spectacular amateur performances, and winning the 1976 🥇Gold-Medal at the ◯◯◯◯◯ 🇨🇦Montreal Games, which allowed him to be spoon-fed and have an easier course towards his ascension in the pro game, and I will stress again he earned that 100% – That is the perks of being recognized, and putting in the work towards gaining that legitimate pass.
Now when I talk about Hagler, his life upbringing, ascension as a contender, and personality was ↕️diametrically opposed, far more-so than any of his other rivals. Hagler didn’t have any flash to his game, nor did he dawn the award winning smile that Sugar-Man 2.0 possessed, or the Hollywood “exterior” persona that was apart of Leonard’s mystique.
Marvin also came from out the mud, and earned his placement in the sport the hard way, with no heavy promotional or 📺TV backing, and had to go through the rungs of the tough Philly landscape of the crowded Middleweight division in the late 70’s just to even get on the radar of the public as a contender.
Stories like that galvanize, and gravitate more towards the more normal working class, who also has a naturally built-in understanding that coming up through the hardships to find success makes it more commendable to those who make it, and they have somebody that they can identify with as an example that they can be influenced by, and to follow.
Now where do I personally place Hagler in the pantheon of All-Time Greats❓ With all thing’s considered, achievements, toughness, mentality, boxing IQ, long Lineal Middleweight reign, the ability to switch-hit to fight effectively in both stances, you are looking at a very rare fighter. As I see it, there are only 3 handful of fighters all time that could truly call themselves “Complete Fighters”, and be considered void of having any weaknesses to their arsenal whatsoever, and within those 3 handfuls, Marvin is among that small group.
Me personally, I see Marvin Hagler as being one of the ten greatest boxers to ever grace the profession, and considering how long boxing has been an active sport, that’s the highest compliment I can give, considering the sports well chronicled history, and he also ranks historically as my #1 Middleweight that I have seen. There are a small group of detractors who refuse to give his just due predicated on baseless merits, such as weak opposition, which should be a disqualifier in their skepticism once you comb through the entire career – but yeah, I believe that Hagler should have garnered universal recognition as truly one of the best to ever do it, as he had covered nearly every base that you could cover as a boxer – R.I.P. to a great man…..a great fighter…..and a role model.