One of the finest lower weight rivalries of recent times will become a trilogy this October, as Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez and Juan Francisco Estrada are set to battle it out in a third fight.
The two little giants 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, winning 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.
Eddie Hearn has said the third fight is being eyed for October 16 at a venue as yet undecided in the U.S. Hardcore fight fans cannot wait for this one.
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. Get ready for round 25 in October!