It’s straightforward to neglect about boxing’s many ills at any time when Juan Francisco Estrada or Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez steps between the ropes. Put them collectively and you’ll’t consider anything.
Eight-plus years after their basic 2012 scrap at junior flyweight, they placed on one other magnificent battle at tremendous flyweight on Saturday at American Airways Heart in Dallas. Estrada received a cut up determination by scores of 117-111, 115-113 and 113-115 to unify the WBA and WBC tremendous flyweight belts.
These two will go down in historical past like Leonard and Duran, Gatti and Ward and like Morales and Barrera. What they lack in dimension they make up for in boxing ability and coronary heart.
They mixed to throw 2,529 punches based on CompuBox, however this wasn’t only a battle royale the place they threw punches indiscriminately and hoped to hit one thing. This was a high-level chess match the place every of them created, after which took benefit of, their very own openings.
Gonzalez entered the evening an authorized legend and is all however a lock to be elected to the Worldwide Boxing Corridor of Fame the primary time he’s eligible. He’s one of many 25 biggest fighters within the sport’s historical past, and that doesn’t change with the ever-so-close defeat towards considered one of his biggest rivals.
However Estrada, for nearly as good as he’s been in his profession, nonetheless wanted a bit bit extra to take that subsequent step. He did that by touchdown the largest scalp of his profession, toppling Gonzalez in a match that would wind up being the 2021 Battle of the Yr.
He now has wins over Gonzalez, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Carlos Cuadras twice, Tyson Marquez, Giovanni Segura and Brian Viloria. He’s the basic boxer-puncher who by no means appears to rattle regardless of what’s happening.
Rungvisai is his necessary, so it units up an attention-grabbing choice. An Estrada-Rungvisai rematch can be fascinating, however after all of the drama between he and Gonzalez, who wouldn’t need to see that a third time?
Gonzalez didn’t present any indicators of slowing, however being an excellent flyweight at 33 is like being a heavyweight at 53. He more than likely doesn’t have numerous time left earlier than his legs give out on him and it turns into unattainable to make 115 kilos any extra.
Provided that, it is sensible for Estrada to struggle Gonzalez subsequent, even when it means sacrificing one of many belts. This, although, is a scenario the place neither determination can be the unsuitable one.
“Rungvisai is the necessary so I’ll take a look at that, however I’ll take a 3rd struggle any day with Chocolatito,” Estrada stated.
After that battle, by which they went downstairs nearly as usually as they sought out the top, neither might be combating any time quickly. Every wants an extended relaxation. That can give the enterprise of us the time to determine the most effective transfer to make.
This struggle, although, was a celebration of boxing the game, not boxing the enterprise. They placed on a basic battle due to the interior warrior inside every of them. They’re aggressive and decided males who hate to lose and who pour their guts out within the ring.
All the nauseating b.s. you hearken to whenever you solely need to hear the most effective fighter calling out the most effective is absent with these two.
They’re throwbacks in each sense of the phrase.
They may struggle 10 occasions and I’d by no means miss it.
Although, if I referred to as for it too loudly, I’d get in bother. That might be the very definition of merciless and weird punishment, placing these two towards one another too usually.
It was a struggle they’ll speak about years from now. And it was placed on by fighters who’re among the many greatest who’ve ever completed it. Admire what you might be seeing as a result of that is as uncommon as it’s particular and compelling.
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