As the long-awaited rematch between Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez and Juan Francisco Estrada approaches, Boxing Social’s Luke G. Williams is revisiting, fight-by-fight, the nine-bout series between Gonzalez, Estrada, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Carlos Cuadras, which has provided boxing fans with a 21st Century equivalent of the 1980s Four Kings series… Today he reexamines the first bout between Gonzalez and Estrada from 2012…
Roman Gonzalez W12 Juan Francisco Estrada (unanimous decision), November, 17, 2012, Los Angeles.
A pulsating encounter at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, the saga began with a bout which showcased exceptionally intense back and forth action and skillful technique from both men, as well as a wonderful contrast in styles.
The 25-year-old Gonzalez (33-0, 28 KOs) was defending his WBA light-flyweight title for the fourth time, as well as featuring in his ninth world title bout, having also enjoyed a previous reign as WBA minimumweight champ.
Meanwhile, the 22-year-old Estrada (26-1, 20 KOs) was appearing in his first world title contest, as well as fighting for the first time outside of his native Mexico.
From the opening bell, Estrada sought to utilise lateral and backwards movement to thwart Chocolatito’s swarming charges as well as the Nicaraguan’s attempts to close the distance and hammer him to the head and body.
The momentum throughout the bout – and even within individual rounds – swung this way and that. In the third, Gonzalez poured forward and bloodied Estrada’s face, while in the fourth the Nicaraguan smashed away at the Mexican’s body while pinning him on the ropes, only for Estrada to roar back with vicious and swift-handed flurries in centre ring.
The pattern of the fight was thus set and the pace never let up.
Chocolatito’s greater volume of hard punches was ultimately enough to deservedly win the day. Although Barry Druxman’s scorecard of 118-110 was two wide, Fritz Werner and Steve Morrow’s identical tallies of 116-112 were a fairer reflection of a superb contest.
“‘El Gallo’ is very strong, like all Mexicans,” Gonzalez later told this writer when reflecting on one of the toughest fights of his career. “He’s a counter-puncher and it was a great fight, very difficult but great for the fans. He has his qualities and great combinations. It was a hard fight for both of us, and he demonstrated excellent qualities. He’s an extremely high-level operator.”
Estrada’s take? “It was my first attempt at a world title. I dropped down from flyweight to fight at 108lbs. No one wanted to fight him at that time. I accepted that opportunity because of who ‘Chocolatito’ was. He’s still one of the great champions. I wanted to fight him. It was a great fight and I think that’s why people have been asking for the rematch for the last eight years.”