The two common takeaways from the March 13 rematch between Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez were that the fight was one of the best in years and that judge Carlos Sucre has no business working on that level.
Gonzalez came up just short in his WBC/WBA junior bantamweight title unification clash with Estrada (also the reigning lineal champion), dropping a 12-round split decision in their memorable war at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. The one negative to come from the night was the horrendous scorecard turned in by judge Sucre, who had the bout 117-111 in favor of Estrada.
Gonzalez claimed a 115-113 win on the card of judge Jesse Reyes, while David Sutherland had the same score in favor of Estrada.
Most observers felt that Gonzalez deserved the nod, to the point of struggling to come to grips with Sutherland’s final score. Nobody was in agreement with judge Sucre’s view of the night, not even the WBA who issued an immediate suspension preventing the Florida-based official from working any more of its sanctioned fights pending further investigation.
“I applaud the decision to suspend the judge,” Gonzalez noted during a recent conference call. “It is an important step toward justice being served.”
Gonzalez spoke with reporters about that bout as well as his role in preparing twin junior featherweight prospects Eduado and Leonardo Baez prepare for separate bouts this Thursday.
Eduardo Baez (18-1-2, 6KOs) appears on NBC Sports Network’s Ring City USA series for the second time, once again facing an unbeaten prospect as he squares off with Cidra, Puerto Rico’s Abimael Ortiz (8-0-1, 4KOs) at Plaza del Quinto Centenario in San Juan. His identical twin, Leonardo Baez (18-3, 9KOSs) enters a dangerous showdown with Ponce’s unbeaten knockout artist Carlos Caraballo (13-0, 13KOs). Both bouts are scheduled for eight rounds.
Gonzalez was able to spend time in camp with the Baez brothers, their having helped him prepare for Estrada while he in turn did his part to get them ready for this week’s pair of televised bouts.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox