Pick It: World Jr. Bantamweight Champion Juan Francisco Estrada vs. Carlos Cuadras (Friday, DAZN, 7 PM EST)
Let’s call it chapter nine. Every era has its multi-man rivalries but none has been better, or delivered more consistently, than the hardcore four in this one. Since 2012, Roman Gonzalez, Juan Francisco Estrada, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, and Carlos Cuadras have faced off eight times. Almost all of the fights were memorable. Several are classics. Seven of those battles were at Jr. bantamweight and the latest chapter in the story will be told this Friday. Will it be the last chapter for the 32-year old Cuadras (39-3-1, 27 KO)?
Cuadras is 3-0 since consecutive losses to Estrada and McWilliams Arroyo but he hasn’t looked like the same fighter. Whatever he’s got left is likely to be unleashed with his back to the wall. Conversely, the 30-year old Estrada (40-3, 27 KO) might be looking at a rematch with Gonzalez if he wins, a chance to reverse the one loss he has yet to avenge.
The 33-year old Gonzalez (49-2, 41 KO) has his own work to do on the card. Was his win over Khalid Yafai a one-off from a faded great or the beginning of a second act? 23-year old Israel Gonzalez (25-3, 11 KO) might be a bigger threat than anyone recognizes. With WBC flyweight titlist Julio Cesar Martinez also in action, this is the easy must-watch show of the week.
Additional Shows to Watch For
Thursday - Torres vs. Zepeda (UFC Fight Pass, 7 PM EST)
This prospect show occasionally has some gems. This week, lightweights take center stage. Luis Torres (8-0, 6 KO) just went ten for the first time and is scheduled for eight this time around. He takes on 23-year old Orlando Zepeda (9-1, 2 KO). Zepeda’s lone loss was to another undefeated youngster, Carlos Acosta, by split decision.
Friday - Turchi vs. Grisunins (DAZN, 1:30 PM EST)
27-year old Italian cruiserweight Fabio Turchi (17-1, 13 KO) has become quite the fixture of DAZN’s afternoon boxing. Coming off his first loss, a split decision to Tommy McCarthy, Turchi looks to return to the winner’s circle with a building block IBF belt on the line. He will face 36-year old Latvian Nikolajs Grisunins (12-1-1, 5 KO).
Friday/Saturday – Preciado vs. Hernandez (Telemundo, 12 AM EST)
Jr. featherweights get the late night nod in this main event. 32-year old Belmar Preciado (20-3-1, 13 KO) has been stopped twice in his last four fights, including in his last start. 34-year old Rodolofo Hernandez (30-9-1, 28 KO) has been stopped eight times, including in both of his last two fights. This has early exit written all over it.
Saturday - TBRB #10 Lipinets vs. Clayton (Showtime, 9 PM EST)
COVID has meant flexibility and in this case the loss of an opponent for 31-year old welterweight Sergey Lipinets (16-1, 12 KO) was no disaster. 33-year old Canadian Olympian Custio Clayton (18-0, 12 KO) has a chance at a career breakthrough against a Lipinets who is typically fan friendly. This could be fun, as most of Showtime’s fall run has been.
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