LAS VEGAS, NV – SEPTEMBER 15: Roman Gonzalez punches Moises Fuentes during their super flyweight … [+]
Nine years ago, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez and Juan Francisco Estrada waged a fantastic fight at 108 pounds with Gonzalez defending his junior flyweight title with a unanimous decision win. Ever since then, hardcore boxing fans have been wishing for a rematch. On Saturday, they finally get it. Here’s everything you need to know about Chocolatito Gonzalez vs. Juan Francisco Estrada, including the odds, their records and a prediction on who will win.
Though Gonzalez prevailed against Estrada in 2012, the former No. 1 pound for pound fighter is the slight underdog in the rematch. He’s now 33 years old—considered ancient in the lower weight classes—and he appeared to be on the decline during his two losses to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. Estrada, meanwhile, has beaten some of boxing’s best since his earlier defeat to Gonzalez, and right now, he’s the best at 115 pounds.
But Gonzalez is still elite, as proven when he beat Kal Yafai 13 months ago and took his super flyweight title.
“I consider myself a man who’s done the best that I could,” Gonzalez said. “I had difficult times growing up but, in the end, it worked out well. Life has taught me a lot of things, and I learned. And I feel and think that I’ve already conquered many things in boxing. What comes now with this title is just extra.
“I never imagined myself getting to where I am now. But wow, it is still hard, it costs me. Because I train the right way. I do things the way they should be done. But I like it. And it’s what’s let me help my family. Help my kids. I don’t complain because I thank God for where I am now.”
But does he still have enough in his body to overcome Estrada once again?
“Estrada is the complete package, just like Chocolatito is, but Estrada has to be smart in this fight,” former welterweight titlist Jessie Vargas said, via Matchroom Boxing. “They are very much alike, offensive fighters that just want to come in and throw, throw, throw.
“Estrada has a bit of a different gameplay because he likes to load up with his punches, it’s either a right uppercut, left uppercut, right hook or left hook—that’s every power punch available and he has power in both hands and is very versatile—but he doesn’t have the best defense. His defense is his offense. He’s going to try to outwork Chocolatito and hit him with that uppercut, so fighting at mid-range is the best tactic for Estrada.”
Either way, chances are good this is going to be a firefight and a potential Fight of the Year candidate.
Here’s more info on the Chocolatito Gonzalez vs. Juan Francisco Estrada showdown that U.S. viewers can watch on DAZN beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday.
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – OCTOBER 23: Carlos Cuadras (L) fights against Francisco Estrada (R) during … [+]
Estrada has been the steady betting favorite since the fight was announced, and in the past few days, his money line has slowly widened. As of this writing, Estrada is a -175 favorite, meaning you’d have to bet $175 to win $100. The lowest I saw Estrada before this was -150. Meanwhile, Gonzalez is +145 (win $145 on a $100 wager). Sports Betting Dime has a similar money line with Estrada at -177 and Gonzalez at +135.
Perhaps a better play would be to wager on Estrada winning by decision at +125 (he’s +375 to score a KO), and betting on a draw at +1600 could make for a good value, as well.
If you were looking for a fun parlay for this weekend’s action of boxing (and this is only my opinion and not a recommendation), I might take Estrada by decision at +125, Cecilia Braekhus to beat Jessica McCaskill at -175, and David Benavidez to beat Ronald Ellis at -2500. That would pay out about $367 on a $100 wager.
Aside from his two defeats to Sor Rungvisai, Gonzalez is just about perfect in his 16-year career, going 50-2 with 41 KOs. That’s why he’s a no-doubt-about-it future Hall of Famer. His win against the then-undefeated Yafai was impressive, especially since Gonzalez was seen as making his last stand as a world-class fighter. Even before this fight, Gonzalez’s resume is stellar, even if there were times he thought about retiring following the Sor Rungvisai losses. “It was difficult to forget,” Gonzalez told me last October.
Like Gonzalez, one of Estrada’s losses came to Sor Rungvisai. But Estrada (41-3, 28 KOs), who’s No. 9 on my pound for pound list, got his revenge in 2019 to win a world title, and he’s followed that up with a tough 11th-round KO win vs. Carlos Cuadras five months ago. It was quite a performance.
If this rematch had happened four years ago, I’d be picking Gonzalez. Though I’m a little worried that Cuadras took too much out of Estrada in October, I think Estrada will rise up for just long enough to pick up the victory he’s wanted for nearly a decade. I’d go with Estrada by close decision, somewhere in the 115-113 range.
After more than a decade in the newspaper business writing about virtually every professional and major college sport for publications like the Cincinnati Post and the