The Biggest Little Men
For the casual fight fan the lens of the sport is naturally focused on the big men, generally from middleweight (11st 6lbs/160lbs) up to heavyweight (no limit). The big guys usually attract the attention, and with it, the big bucks.
However, for the aficionado the greater fighters, and frequently fights, are shared across the weight classes and invariably the most momentous battles are fought in those lighter divisions dominated by Hispanic and Far Eastern fighters.
Over recent decades legendary names in the categories from flyweight (8st/112lbs) to featherweight (9st/126lbs) pepper the sport – Sot Chitalada, Carlos Zarate, Ruben Olivares, Alexis Arguello, Azumah Nelson, Manny Pacquiao, and Marco Antonio Barrera to name but a few.
Tonight in the early hours (UK time) two ‘little’ guys will enter the ring in Dallas, Texas in a genuine ‘Superfight’. Mexico’s Juan Francisco Estrada will defend his WBC and Ring magazine super-flyweight (8st 3lbs/115lbs) title against Nicaraguan four weight and current WBA world champion Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez. It is a unification contest that promises to be an epic.
What adds intrigue and quality is it’s not the first time they’ve met. This is a rematch of their November 2012 standout junior flyweight contest which Gonzalez won by a hard fought unanimous decision. Many experts thought the contest should have been much closer than scores suggested. Estrada understandably was aggrieved in what was an all out slugfest.
Since then, a rematch has been inevitable as both fighters have moved through the divisions with outstanding success. Estrada brings a 41-3-0 (28 KO) record into the ring, Gonzalez 50-2-0 (41 KO).
‘Chocolatito’ at one point was The Ring pound for pound #1 (the recognised highest honour in the sport) having won titles in three weight divisions and only first tasting defeat in his 47th pro fight. Now 33 years old the man from Managua is entering the twilight of his career and this could be his ‘last hurrah’. However, on achievement to date he is a first ballot entrant to the International Boxing Hall of Fame and a win tonight would be the zenith of his accomplishments.
‘Gallo’ Estrada at 30 years old is a two weight world champion and has a winning record of 8-2 (5 KO’s) in world title fights. Two of his only three losses have been avenged, with the current exception of Gonzalez. His motivation for winning this fight is unquestioned and in defeating Gonzalez he would elevate himself to similar iconic status.
Billed appropriately ‘Repeat or Revenge’ by promoters Matchroom Boxing and streaming platform DAZN who will transmit the bout , it is a must-see contest and well worth setting your alarm clock for a likely 3.00 GMT start and paying the £1.99 subscription fee. The undercard is also excellent with eleven ‘world’ titles on the line during the evening, including an eagerly awaited female undisputed world welterweight rematch between USA’s Jessica McCaskill and Colombia-born Norwegian Cecilia Braekhus. This is an elite grudge match that promises much.
The Undisputed expects the Estrada-Gonzalez main event to complement their first encounter and live up to the eager anticipation for their rematch. For a prediction, look for the younger Estrada to outwork Gonzalez and emerge victorious on the night probably by unanimous decision. Expect knockdowns and lots of drama on the way though !