By: Sean Cross
Juan Francisco Estrada defeated the legendary Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez for the third time for the WBC Super Flyweight title on Saturday night in Glendale, Arizona. The first fight between the two men, dating back to 2012, saw Gonzalez emerge victorious. When the two men met again in 2021, it was reversed. Now the fighting world will learn who can take the best of the three between these two great fighters.
The 51-3 Gonzalez tried to get a good position first as the 43-3 Estrada worked to dominate the geography. Estrada started to land in the second while Gonzalez had yet to properly pull the trigger. To his surprise, the crowd started shouting. Estrada fought well behind the jab in the third, but Gonzalez finally started putting his punches together. The round ended in great fashion, with Istara looking hurt, but fighting back gamely. The fourth was an interesting case. Gonzalez landed well, but Estrada was the more active of the two fighters, rocking the man late in the round.
While Gonzalez was certainly having his moments in the fifth, Estrada didn’t let him have too many of them. It told the story of Mexico’s great struggle for territorial control. As the sixth Gonzalez continued to push forward, but again, he couldn’t consistently do well against the active Istara, who didn’t seem to be slowing down. Chocolatito landed well in the seventh, but he no longer seemed to have the ability to break down the opposition.
In the eighth, however, Gonzalez finally seemed to be getting to his man, tracking well and landing on Estrada. The ninth was a tough round to call. Estrada landed a lot of throws, but Gonzalez was clearly a tougher puncher. The tenth was a blur, with each man pinning himself to assert himself. Estrada edged the eleventh round with powerful punches and movement, but it was hard to tell. In the 12th and final round, Chocolatito dealt with the damage as Estrada fired furious shots. Estrada won by majority decision with scores of 114-114, 116-112, 115-113.
“If he wants a fourth fight, I think we can do it,” Estrada said in a post-fight interview.