This Saturday night, the crescendo to a decade-long run of fights taking place between flyweight and super flyweight comes to an end with the two lead characters cast in a trilogy. Roman Gonzalez, AKA Chocolatito, takes on Juan Francisco Estrada in the last hurrah of sorts streaming live on DAZN.
These two shoo-in future Hall of Famers rose to the top after facing numerous tough challenges on the way. Their first meeting dates back ten years to the month, so I guess this is technically a cap to the “Flyweight Wars,” which, as Chocolatito moved up in weight and Estrada followed, turned into the “Super-Fly.”
For those who are late to the sport of boxing, the flyweight wars were basically set off after Gonzalez/Estrada fought back in 2012. Names like Giovanni Segura, Brian Viloria, Hernan Marquez, Aria Yaegashi, Edgar Sosa, Sirsaket Sor Rungbisai, and Carlos Cuadras (yes, I’m missing some) all took part in a round-robin-like unofficial tournament. The first chunk of the flyweight wars took place off American television but as HBO’s boxing budget shrunk, it was a blessing in disguise to the little guys in the ring, and hardcore’s happy to see some much-deserved light shined on the division.
In their second bout last year, the vast majority of plugged-in folks who support the sport thought Roman Gonzalez did more than enough to get the nod. Especially the scorecard that read 117-111, which only added fuel to the “robbery” fire. I saw it as a competitive bout in which Choclatito deserved to win via 8-4, 7-5, maybe 7-4-1. It was not a robbery in this boxing podcaster’s mind that said I’m a bit biased toward both of the boxers, especially Estrada. Fully admit that let’s be fair, the media and fans alike do really love Gonzalez, so the folks saying he won by 9-3 or even 10-2 are probably over the top to an extent anyway.
Kind of strange how Estrada got off to a great start in fight 1, whereas it took until the 6th round or so for Juan Francisco to put back-to-back rounds together. Roman had measured him quickly from their first fight and was able to time Estrada being the busier and cleaner puncher the second time around. It’s simply amazing to have watched Gonzalez improve throughout the years as a volume offensive fighter that uses angles, timing, and rapid-fire combination punching that metaphorically cuts off the oxygen of his opponent.
One clear advantage for Estrada was the large discrepancy out-landing Gonzalez downstairs 89-31. Estrada must attack the body earlier while using his jab along with landing hooks and straight right hands.
Estrada has to stay off the ropes and try to match angles and pivots, which isn’t easy against the always-closing-the-distance type of pressure guy like Roman. Although Gonzalez is 35 to his rival-foe 32, in their last outings, it was Estrada who appeared to be the more faded of the two. Some of that comes down to the level of the opponent and the possibility Juan Francisco overlooked Argi Cortes in September.
The major problem for Estrada or most boxers facing Chocolatito, it’s so difficult not to get into back-and-forth exchanges because Roman is always pushing forward. When most boxing media members and fans complain, in this case rightfully so, about a poor decision, the close rounds will generally sway to the guy that people thought got screwed in the next fight.
Beyond really hurting and dropping Chocolatito, I’m not sure I see a realistic path to victory beyond a repeat of favoritism for Estrada. Don’t get me wrong, Estrada is a live dog sitting around +175 to +190ish, and there is always a chance age and wear and tear show up for both guys, but in this case, it would have to be Gonzalez. Otherwise, expect an entertaining scrap that won’t take but a few minutes to pop off inside the ring.
My Official Prediction is Roman Gonzalez by Majority-Decision.
Podcast Link: https://t.co/TPg8wp2uS1
Side Note: At least Tyson Fury vs. Derrick Chisora 3 is not a PPV in America and is available on ESPN+.
Written by Chris Carlson, Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio.