According to ESPN’s Salvador Rodriguez, the eagerly anticipated rubber-match between Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman Gonzalez is almost there as far as a done deal goes. The two superb fighters are “80 percent” through negotiations for a third fight to go down on October 16.
One of the finest lower weight rivalries of recent times, Gonzalez and Estrada are currently 1-1, with the first fight, won by Nicaraguan great Gonzalez via unanimous decision in 2012, taking place down at light-flyweight.
While nine years later, this March, Mexican modern great Estrada got his revenge, wining a split decision up at super-flyweight. Both fights were excellent, this year’s return battle in particular, and the rubber-match promises to give us more great action.
Gonzalez, 50-3(41) appeared close to the end when being hammered to a fourth round stoppage defeat by Srisaket sor Rungvisai in their September 2017 rematch (Chocolatito having won a debatable 12 round majority decision in the first fight, staged in March of that year). Yet the 34 year old roared back, winning four on the bounce, including a WBA super-flyweight title win over Kal Yafai. The remarkable Gonzalez was back on top.
Estrada, 42-3(28) and three years the younger man, also fought Rungvisai twice – losing a decision and then winning one. Estrada has never been stopped and the revenge win over Rungvisai was followed by two good wins and then by the revenge win over Gonzalez. Both men gave their all in March of this year and we can perhaps look forward to another FOTY candidate in October.
But how much has Gonzalez got left after such a long, at times hard career? How much has Estrada got left after his own at times tough career? We will, all being well, find out in October. And this fight, this rivalry, is about more than mere belts.
The big guys of the sport garner way more attention and they earn so much more money, but guys like Estrada and Gonzalez do so much to make this sport the great sport it is. We have seen a number of big fights fall through this year; here’s hoping this one goes ahead without a hitch.