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Juan Estrada vs. Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez rematch will be huge in 2021

Juan Francisco Estrada Julio Cesar Martinez Roman Gonzalez

By Kenneth Friedman: Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez both put on a show last Friday night on DAZN in Mexico City with their victories to help set the table for a rematch between them in early 2021.

Estrada (41-3, 28 KOs) fought Chocolatito (50-2, 41 KOs) eight years ago, losing to him by a 12 round unanimous decision by the scores 116-112, 118-110, 116-112.

Matchroom Boxing still needs to get the Chocolatito vs. Estrada 2 rematch done for next year, but it’s likely the match will take place now that the two fighters have won their preliminary fights.

Last Friday night, WBA super flyweight champion Roman Gonzalez defeated the incredibly tough challenger Israel Gonzalez (25-4, 11 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision in the co-feature bout at the Gimnasio TV Azteca.

In the main event, Estrada, 30, dispatched former WBC 115lb champion Carlos Cuadras (39-4-1, 27 KOs) by an 11th round knockout in arguably his most punishing fight of his career. It took everything that Estrada had for him to beat Cuadras, and if not for the knockout, he might have lost to him.

Estrada had problems with Cuadras’ pressure

Juan Francisco Estrada Julio Cesar Martinez Roman Gonzalez

Cuadras was still landing the better shots in the championship rounds, and his attacks were scary with the power that he had. Cuadras wasn’t just throwing one shot at a time. He was coming forward and hitting Estrada four to five times in a row with shots that landed with a loud thud each time.

This was the same Cuadras that had given Chocolatito all he could handle in their fight in 2016. Although Roman won that fight, his face was badly swollen, and he didn’t look like the same person. Estrada got the same treatment, but not quite as bad. His face was bruised, nose purple and looking crooked by the end of the contest.

Estrada, 30, won for the second time against Cuadras. He’d beaten Carlos by a razor-close 12 round unanimous decision in 2017, and the second fight proved to be just as difficult for Juan Franciso last night.

Many thought that the 32-year-old Cuadras was over-the-hill coming into the contest with Estrada, but he proved that he still had plenty left in the tank to administer a  lot of punishment on ‘El Gallo’.

Juan Francisco Estrada Julio Cesar Martinez Roman Gonzalez

At the time of the stoppage in the 11th, the fight was even at 120-120 on all three of the judges’ scorecards. That tells you how hard of a fight that Cuadras gave Estrada, as he was forced into a firefight.

Estrada clearly didn’t want to fight that way, but Cuadras’ pressure and combination punching left him no choice. Estrada couldn’t escape the pressure that Cuadras put on him, as when he did attempt his matador moves, the bull-like Cuadras would hit him with a body shot to the side.

And Estrada didn’t like the body shots, and his legs gave on him by the midpoint in the fight. The only thing Estrada could do was come forward and fight Cuadras’ type of fight, which paid off in the end but at a huge cost.

Estrada took more of a beating than any fight he’s had at the pro level, and the timing of the grueling match was bad. Estrada needed to be fresh hearing into his rematch with Chocolatito, and he’s not going to be that way. He’s going to need to recover and try and do the best he can against the 33-year-old Roman.

Roman Gonzalez had it easy against Israel Gonzalez

Juan Francisco Estrada Julio Cesar Martinez Roman Gonzalez

Chocolatito had far fewer problems beating his opponent Israel Gonzalez, winning a 12 round unanimous decision by the scores 118-110, 117-111, and 116-112. The 23-year-old Israel, 5’6″, had the speed, size, and youth advantage over the 5’3″ Chocolatito, but like Estrada, he couldn’t handle his high work rate and pressure.

Roman went after Israel and outworked him with his high work-rate and unrelenting pressure. Chocolatito did an excellent job of varying his attacks in switching from the head to the body and throwing triple hooks.

The hooks to the body from Roman seemed to take the air out of Israel’s tires in the second half of the fight, making him more stationary. Israel couldn’t handle the body shots from Chocolatito in the center of the ring, which led to him retreating to the ropes.

From that area of the ring, Israel would bend forward and brace for the body shots from Chocolatito to better absorb the punches’ impact worked for Israel, as he was able to go the 12 rounds without being stopped, but he lost the fight.

Chocolatito and Estrada haven’t changed much since 2012

Juan Francisco Estrada Julio Cesar Martinez Roman Gonzalez

Estrada has lost only once since his defeat at the hands of Chocolatito in 2012. His only defeat came at the hands of Chocolatito conqueror Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in February 2018.

Rungvisai had twice beaten Chocolatito in 2017 and knocked him out in their second fight. In 2019, Estrada defeated Rungvisai to avenge his loss with a 12 round decision. It was still a close fight for Estrada, but he won by using movement to avoid the much harder punches from Rungvisai.

Chocolatito and Estrada both look to be about the same fighters that they were in 2012. In reviewing their fight from 2012, there’s not much change from them other than a little bit more size.

Roman showed the same relentless pressure, high work rate, and combination punching against Israel Gonzalez last Friday night that he had in his match against Estrada in 2012.

For his part, Estrada still has the same hand speed, ring movement, and accurate punches that he did eight years ago in Roman.

As we saw in the Cuadras fight, Estrada still struggles when being pressured, and he has a lot of problems against opposition that comes forward looking to outwork him with volume punching.

Estrada still has the accuracy of his shots, but he didn’t react well to the pressure and getting hit a lot.

Gonzalez knows how to beat Estrada

Juan Francisco Estrada Julio Cesar Martinez Roman Gonzalez

Chocolatito already knows how to beat Estrada. If there were any doubts about whether his blueprint will still work against Estrada, they were shut down last Friday with the success that Cuadras had against him.

The only question is can Chocolatito get in good enough shape to work hard for the full three minutes of every round to apply pressure on Estrada? That’s the only question.

Against Israel Estrada, Chocolatito looked tired at times in the second half, and he was taking breaks. He can’t do that against Estrada and expect to beat him because he’ll get lit up.

Also, Chocolatito will need to be in better shape for the Estrada fight, as he looked like he was carrying an extra five pounds of fat around his midsection for the match against Israel. For Chocolatito to beat Estrada, he’s got to be in tip-top shape for him to push the maddening pace that he’ll need for him to win this fight.

While some boxing fans believe that Chocolatito Gonzalez has lost some from the game that he once had, I don’t think he has. You can attribute Chocolatito’s two losses to Rungvisai to it being a bad style match-up for him.

Those two fights were similar to the George Foreman vs. Joe Frazier contests in the 1970s. Frazier was too small to employ his aggressive pressure style of fighting against the big 6’4″ Foreman, and he ended up getting knocked out twice by him in their two fights.

Chocolatito doesn’t need to change anything

Juan Francisco Estrada Julio Cesar Martinez Roman Gonzalez

Chocolatito, who started his career at light flyweight [108], was too small and weak for him to use his high volume punch attack against the much bigger and stronger Rungvisai.

As a result, Chocolatito took the punishment and was twice beaten by Rungvisai. Unlike Estrada and Cuadras, Chocolatito failed to adapt to Rungvisai’s style by using movement the way they both did to defeat him.

Chocolatito made the mistake of trying to wear Rungvisai down with his high work rate the way he’d done against countless opponents at 108 and 112. You can’t blame Chocolatito for at least trying to use that approach.

But in the second fight with Rungvisai, Chocolatito should have adapted and boxed him, but he didn’t. He stuck with the same game plan as the first fight, and he was knocked out in the fourth.

Estrada is the exact same fighter as he was when he fought Chocolatito in 2012. Some boxing fans think Estrada has improved, but he hasn’t. He fights the exact way as he did back when he fought Chocolatito eight years ago.

The fact that Estrada had difficulty in his matches against Rungvisai and Cuadras, who were easily the best two opponents he’s faced in the last eight years, suggests that he’s still the same guy that Roman beat.

Estrada almost lost the second fight with Rungvisai, and he would if not for the Thai fighter looking unmotivated in the first six rounds. When Rungvisai did turn it on in the second half of the fight, he had Estrada in retreat and losing almost all of the last six rounds.

Chocolatito is a bad style match-up for Juan Francisco

Juan Francisco Estrada Julio Cesar Martinez Roman Gonzalez

It’s quite realistic to predict another win for Chocolatito over Estrada, as he’s a bad style match-up for him. Estrada doesn’t do well against pressure fighters, and he’s lost against guys that throw a lot of punches like Chocolatito.

If he Estrada is unable to knock Chocolatoto out, he’ll lose to him a second time. He’s not capable of matching the work rate of Chocolatito, and he’ll give up too much ground to win a lot of rounds.

There needs to be a crowd by the time Roman and Estrada fight again, as it would be a shame if the pandemic prevents a live audience for their rematch in 2021.


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