The Undisputed Track: Estrada vs Gonzalez 2
By Neil Coote
Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez (50-2) and Juan Francisco Estrada (41-3) clash on 13th March at the American Airlines Center in Dallas for the WBA and the WBC super-flyweight world championship.
This fight stands alone as an exhibition of masterpieces in skills and technique at 115lbs and comes as a welcome relief from the elite fighters of a weight class where the best regularly fight the best.
The curators of this division have carefully laid out the products of many great masters for the spectacle of adulating fans during recent years. Names such as Kazuto Ioka and Jerwin Ancajas carry other versions of the titles and play a vital role in this great canon on the path to ‘undisputed’ champion status.
The crowd-craving arenas that Covid has created have become a leveller to a sport where the division peddler’s sales have somewhat dried up. The fighters of this division deserve a spotlight out of the shadows and lead the way with a pugilistic pride.
The two exponents met just over eight years ago with Gonzalez running out the winner via a unanimous decision. Estrada was cut up and bloodied early as a peak Chocolatito used expert speed and precision to move and box. However, it is currently Estrada who sits proudly amongst The Ring magazine’s pound-for-pound rankings and has matured into a respected champion of his own merit.
Since then both men have lost to the great Thai ‘Rungvisai’ Estrada avenged his defeat whereas Gonzalez truly met his bogeyman, losing to him twice. It would be too easy to predict that Gonzalez has been exposed to his decline as he still dominated and knocked out Khalid Yafai barely ten months ago to claim the WBA title.
Gonzalez is an expert hunter and has plied his trade by stalking, cornering and forcing his opponents to fight his fight. His armoury includes a short left hook that barely travels enough distance to register, making it a difficult weapon to avoid. However, he is human, as Srisaket Sor Rungvisai showed in emphatic nature three years ago by employing educated pressure and executing a knockout.
Estrada hooks effectively off the jab and has the tools to upset the rhythm of Chocolatito, he will need to utilise his movement effectively though to stay well out of the Nicaraguan’s pockets.
He can win this fight if he refuses to sit at the table and decides to address the attacks on his own terms. A level of aggression is also needed within those combinations as going through the motions’ will not be good enough at this feast.
The boxing fraternity will still provide a global audience, albeit from the limitations of less crowded lounges, as the much anticipated rematch goes live. One thing that can be guaranteed though in a world of unsureness is that both fighters will display purist-pleasing, expert technique as truly skilled executors of the noble art.
Both fighters have blueprints to win this fight however, I feel that this will be Roman Gonzalez’s crowning glory to an elite career. If he can slip into his rhythm with a tight guard and work his way into the second half of the fight with a lead then I expect him to use his experience to nick a decision.
Chocolatito is a modern great in motion and in status for his achievements in the sport; the annals of Canastota await his handprint.