SUPER-FLYWEIGHT standouts Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez combined to produce a fantastic fight in their long-awaited rematch, with Estrada edging his old rival on a split decision at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
In a surefire Fight of the Year candidate, Estrada and Gonzalez threw over 2,500 punches across 12 scintillating rounds. The quality and intensity of the action was extraordinary. The first bout between the two – won by Gonzalez back in November 2012 at light-flyweight – was an exciting and competitive affair, but the sequel managed to surpass the original in both of these departments.
At the final bell it was anyone’s guess as to who was going to come out on top, such was the hard-fought, nip-and-tuck nature of the clash. Each fighter was awarded a 115-113 score in their favour – both fair and justifiable tallies – but the 117-111 card that gave Estrada a split verdict victory was too wide.
With the win, Estrada added Gonzalez’s WBA strap to the WBC belt that he already owned. Up next for the Mexican looks likely to be a rubber match with two-time Gonzalez conqueror Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, who is the mandatory challenger for the WBC crown – a title that the Thai has twice held in the past. But Estrada would also happily engage in a rubber match with Gonzalez.
“I think I did enough to win,” said Estrada in his post-fight interview, who has now unified world titles at flyweight and super-flyweight. “Chocolatito’s a great fighter and I think he deserves the trilogy. I knew it was a close fight. I didn’t know if I was up or down [after 10 rounds], but I needed to close out the fight in the last two rounds.”
Despite landing more shots than his opponent over the course of the contest, former four-weight world champion Gonzalez did not bemoan the judges’ decision.
“Whatever happened had to happen, but I gave it a great fight,” the Nicaraguan icon stated afterwards. “I would’ve been happy either way with the result. I did my work. The only guarantee is from the Lord.”
In the co-feature on this Matchroom promotion, Jessica McCaskill retained her undisputed welterweight championship by outpointing esteemed veteran Cecilia Braekhus for a second time.
Seven months ago, ex-unified WBC and WBA super-lightweight champ McCaskill upset the previously unbeaten Braekhus on a majority verdict to take the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO welter belts away from the Colombia-born Norwegian.
In their return bout, the American triumphed more convincingly on the scorecards, with the officials making McCaskill a winner by marks of 100-89, 99-90 and 98-91. While these one-sided scores were harsh on Braekhus, the right boxer prevailed.
The third world title tussle on the bill saw Hiroto Kyoguchi maintain his status as the WBA light-flyweight king, though not in the circumstances that he would have wanted.
Making the third defence of his WBA strap, having formerly reigned as an IBF title-holder at strawweight, the undefeated Japanese fighter was being given a good fight by young Mexican underdog Axel Aragon Vega. That was until the contest was brought to an abrupt end at 1-32 of the fifth round, after the diminutive Vega suffered an injury to his right hand and was unable to continue.