Juan Francisco Estrada Defeats Roman Gonzalez Again In Another High-Quality Bout
In boxing, trilogies are typically the “deciding factor” in determining which of two fighters is the more superior. On December 3, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (51-4, 41KO) and “El Gallo” Juan Francisco Estrada (44-3, 28KO) meet for a third time as both men own a win against one another. The “assumed” final fight for the vacant WBC super flyweight title left little doubt as to who is the better man in the ring!
This bout had to endure a few delays before landing in the last month of 2022. Gonzalez contracted COVID-19 which delayed a presumed third quarter date in 2021. This after Estrada edged their March 13 rematch that year by a controversial split-decision and avenging the loss in their first fight. Then, Estrada himself had to pull out of the rescheduled March 5, 2022 date due to contracting an illness of his own. Gonzalez would use the date to turn in a performance reminiscent of his #1 pound-for-pound days in completely outclassing WBC flyweight champ Julio Cesar Martinez.
Meanwhile, El Gallo would miss another six months (add a year since the Gonzalez rematch) before returning in September against Argi Cortes. This fight featured the former unified champion not at his best as he walked away with a close unanimous decision.
Given the performances in their last outings, Gonzalez looked to be the much fresher fighter on paper. Of course, this didn’t mean El Gallo was going to “lay down!”
A TALE OF TWO-HALVES
The trilogy was another example of what high-level boxing looks like! A tale of two-halves, Gonzalez used the earlier rounds to gather data on his opponent. Estrada used his opponent’s slow start to his advantage by fighting behind the jab and utilizing the ring. Any time Chocolatito applied too much pressure, El Gallo would use volume to make him reset then spin out of harm’s way.
Estrada enjoyed an early lead in the fight until the tide started to turn in the middle rounds. Once the data was collected, the aggression from the former #1 pound-for-pound fighter became a factor. While Estrada still fought effectively off his back-foot, he wasn’t able to dictate the pace as he did in the early rounds. Gonzalez, found himself using his footwork to get inside the chest of his opponent and dominate the inside.
The constant movement from Estrada to tame his aggressor seemed to cause some fatigue. In result, the former unified champ slowed down his punch volume and negated using pivots to angle away from the pressure. The return was success from constant barrages from Gonzalez that pushed Estrada’s back against the ropes. In these instances, it was clear the Nicaraguan had a higher rate of accuracy and controlled the pace of the fight.
By the championship rounds, an argument could be made that either fighter could be ahead. The back and forth war fans witnessed illustrated Estrada controlling the first half while Gonzalez dominated the second half of the trilogy. It appeared the last round would determine who wins the fight!
OVERCOMING IN THE FINAL ROUND
Estrada seemed to agree with this sentiment and it reflected in is approach. Instead of continuing the trend of succumbing to the pressure for most of a round then attempting the “Sugar Ray Leonard” strategy of trying to win that round in the last thirty-seconds, he matched Chocolatito with his own pressure.
With a second wind and a high sense of urgency, El Gallo dominated the exchanges and hurt his opponent with several shots to the body. This lead to moments where Gonzalez’ aggression was flat and he felt his own back against the ropes at one point! This was a solid end for Estrada and one he needed on the 3kingsboxing.com scorecard.
After the final bell sounded and fans awaited to hear who would take home the victory, the scorecards were read. The first had the same score as 3kingsboxing.com, 114-114. This was overruled by the other two scores of 115-113 and 116-112 with the majority decision going in Estrada’s favor!
There are no qualms about the decision as this was another close fight between the two. Afterwards, both fighters mentioned the possibility of a fourth fight. Is this something the boxing world really needs or is it already clear that El Gallo has Gonzalez’ number?
By: EJ Williams