Juan Francisco "El Gallo" Estrada and Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez scored impressive wins on Friday in Mexico City to set up a potential rematch of their tremendous battle in 2012, which Gonzalez won by unanimous decision.
Chocolatito defeated Israel Gonzalez by unanimous decision to retain his WBA junior bantamweight belt, and then in the main event, Estrada stopped Carlos Cuadras in Round 11 after recovering from a third-round knockdown.
Estrada's win over Cuadras -- his second victory over Cuadras, whom he beat on points the first time around by scores of 118-110, 116-112 and 116-112 at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles -- bookends an impressive run. Since that fight, Estrada has gone 15-1, and Gonzalez has been on point himself during that period with a record of 16-2, 13 KOs -- with both of those losses coming at the hands of Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. Estrada's lone loss in that stretch also came at the hands of SSR, though Estrada later avenged that defeat by defeating Sor Rungvisai in a rematch in April 2019.
So, what can we expect in the Gonzalez-Estrada rematch? Can Gonzalez repeat history, or is Estrada the better fighter now? Steve Kim breaks it down.
What do you expect from an Estrada-Gonzalez rematch?
Another classic battle. Having been lucky enough to have been at their first clash in 2012 at the L.A. Sports Arena, I expect the second chapter to be just as entertaining, if not more so, just for the simple fact that both boxers have so much on the line, and that they are both incredibly prideful, world-class fighters.
You could say that Gonzalez is no longer in his prime, but since his KO loss in the second Sor Rungvisai fight in 2017, he is now in a career renaissance of sorts -- and he's still an offensive force, one who simply avalanches his foes in leather. Estrada is also an improved fighter since their first meeting, and has been yearning for revenge.
Their styles mesh perfectly: the steady two-fisted arsenal of Chocolatito, who weaves exquisite combinations, against the precise, heavy-handed counter-punches from Estrada.
It's time to find out who is the lord of the super flys.
How does Estrada win?
He can do it by being the younger, fresher fighter down the stretch. That means he'll have to overcome the steady work rate of Gonzalez in the first half of the fight, withstand all that comes his way and land his share of body shots early to set up a strong finishing kick. Gonzalez is still a solid puncher at 115, but he isn't hitting through his opponents as he did at lower weight classes.
At this stage of their careers and this weight class, Estrada might actually be the more forceful puncher. But he can't allow himself to be outworked in the early rounds to a degree that he falls too far behind, as he did in his first bout with Sor Rungvisai.
How does Gonzalez win?
Does Gonzalez have another great night in him? He is 33, which is unusually old for a smaller fighter to be at the world-class level. Once again, he'll have to get in great shape and then be prepared to set a fast pace, be the busier fighter -- especially early on -- and hopefully soften up Estrada enough to a point where he won't have enough in the tank to come on strong.
Chocolatito most likely will be an underdog in this rematch, but as you saw in Estrada-Cuadras II, a lot of leather was landed by Estrada before he secured the TKO. Cuadras is a bit of a slap hitter, one who doesn't completely turn his punches over, and that isn't the case with Gonzalez, who throws punches with great torque and balance that gives him the ability to throw one punch after another seamlessly.
Should Martinez move up to face Gonzalez and/or Estrada? Or should he stay at flyweight and unify titles?
If Martinez can't get a unification bout with Moruti Mthalane at flyweight, he should go look for a more attractive matchup at junior bantamweight, where there are bigger, more recognizable names. And as he waits for Estrada and Gonzalez to engage in their rematch, there are other names for Martinez to pursue, such as Joshua Franco, Kazuto Ioka or Jerwin Ancajas, all of whom have title belts and would make for interesting fights.
Martinez is a highly entertaining fighter that also brings pressure, is relentless and has shown a willingness to mix it up from the very first bell. He doesn't just throw a lot of punches, Martinez also has very bad intentions on each punch.