Pick It: World Champion Juan Francisco Estrada vs. TBRB #2 Roman Gonzalez (Saturday, DAZN/PPV, 8:00 PM EST)
This might be the ‘pick it’ of the year. Sure, any fight can miss; an errant butt can end an affair before it begins. Sometimes, things just don’t launch. This doesn’t feel like that. In nine previous fights between Estrada, Gonzalez, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, and Carlos Cuadras, there hasn’t been a bad fight yet.
One day we might get their version of “Uno Mas,” the forgettable third Leonard-Duran fight. Don’t bet on it this weekend. The 30-year old Jr. bantamweight king Estrada (41-3, 28 KO) and 33-year old Gonzalez (50-2, 41 KO) have both lost a bit on their fastball but they remain two of the finest craftsmen in any division. Eight years and change after their first encounter, this is hardcore manna from the fistic gods. It comes on a solid overall card. 36-year old Welterweight queen Jessica McCaskill (9-2, 3 KO) will attempt to repeat the feat after being the first to defeat 39-year old former champion Cecilia Braekhus (36-1, 9 KO) while 27-year old TBRB #2 Jr. flyweight Hiroto Kyoguchi (14-0, 9 KO) makes his first start since 2019.
Fans without the DAZN app can find the fight through their cable pay-per-view providers.
Additional Shows to Watch For
Friday - Crocker vs. Illbay (ESPN+, 2:00 PM EST)
Welterweight afternoon action kicks off the weekend. 24-year old Lewis Crocker (12-0, 7 KO) from Northern Ireland is inching his way up the ladder. 26-year old Deniz Illbay (22-2, 10 KO) brings more pro experience and has never been stopped.
Friday - Sands vs. Garcia (YouTube/Shuan Boxing, 5:00 PM EST)
Heavyweight hopefuls take center ring on this stream offering. 26-year old Amron Sands (11-0, 9 KO) is off to a good start and he’s a big. His last start, the heavy handed Sands was down to the low 230s. 30-year old Alexis Garcia (9-0, 5 KO) varies widely on the scales but seems to carry some pop as well. This is scheduled for eight. Don’t be surprised if they wrap up earlier.
Friday - #1 Sor Rungvisai vs. Sithmorseng (DAZN, 9:30 PM EST)
Since losing the rematch and the 115 lb. throne to Estrada in 2018, 34-year old Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (49-5-1, 42 KO) has fought twice but not in the sort of affairs that could add significant wear. He has lied in wait for a mandatory chance to regain his title via the WBC and a win Friday clears the decks. 38-year old Kwanthai Sithmorseng (50-7, 27 KO) is the last obstacle before the winner of Estrada-Gonzalez II. Sithmorseng has been stopped six times. Sor Rungvisai has a chance to generate fresh buzz on the eve of Saturday’s mini-superfight.
Friday/Saturday - Socarras vs. Contreras (Telemundo, 12:00 AM EST)
It’s featherweights in the late show. 28-year old Hairon Socarras (23-1-3, 15 KO) picked up a win since suffering a stoppage loss to Ryan Walsh in late 2019 and tries to keep on a winning path. 28-year old Dennis Contreras (23-10-1, 21 KO) has won three in a row and can whack a bit, but he’s also been stopped twice. This could be fun.
Saturday - #3 Benavidez vs. Ellis (Showtime, 9:00 PM EST)
Making his first start since losing a super middleweight belt on the scales, 24-year old David Benavidez (23-0, 20 KO) is stuck in a limbo he can only punch his way out of. Saul Alvarez is looking to unify, has the belt Benavidez couldn’t keep, and unification means Billy Joe Saunders and Caleb Plant. Benavidez has started to call for Jermall Charlo and that sounds intriguing but for now it’s 31-year old Ronald Ellis (18-1-2, 12 KO). Ellis has never been stopped. This card also has a solid lightweight scrap that could steal the show with Isaac Cruz (20-1-1, 15 KO) and Jose Romero (24-0, 9 KO) and a Jr. middleweight clash between Olympian Terrell Gausha (21-2-1, 10 KO) and JaMontay Clark (15-1-1, 7 KO).
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org