The fans who chose to witness in person the memorable rematch between Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez were treated to one of the best fights since the pandemic.
The March 13 junior bantamweight championship clash produced a live gate of $227,765 from 2,323 tickets sold at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Another 136 complimentary tickets were issued for the DAZN-streamed event according to the final promoter tax report submitted to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR), a copy of which has been obtained by BoxingScene.com.
As has been the case with all Texas combat sports events since last October, tickets were sold in compliance with social distancing measures. Less than 5,000 tickets were made available to the public as a result, with all fans required to wear masks and comply with CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines.
Estrada (42-3, 28KOs) prevailed by split decision in their unforgettable 12-round sequel, claiming Gonzalez’s WBA junior bantamweight title while retaining his WBC strap and lineal championship. The outcome allowed Estrada to avenge an eight-plus year-old loss to Nicaragua’s Gonzalez (50-3, 41KOs), who claimed a 12-round unanimous decision in their equally breathtaking Nov. 2012 junior flyweight war at the now defunct Los Angeles (California) Memorial Sports Arena.
The bout marked the first headliner in Texas for either boxer and the first fight overall in-state for the 30-year-old Estrada, who has predominantly fought in his home country of Mexico. His previous six stateside appearances have all taken place in Southern California.
Gonzalez’s lone other fight in Texas came last February, entering his second junior bantamweight title reign following a 9th round knockout of unbeaten Kal Yafai. The throwback performance took place as the chief support to a welterweight clash between Mikey Garcia and Jessie Vargas, with the show airing live on DAZN from The Ford Center at The Star in nearby Frisco, Texas.
Despite the modest turnout, the March 13 show will likely remain the best remembered among the seven high-profile events to take place in Texas since the pandemic. The card took place at the same venue which hosted the Jan. 2 interim lightweight title fight between Ryan García and England’s Luke Campbell (20-4, 16KOs). García claimed an off-the-canvas 7th round knockout, while testing his box office appeal far from his home base in Victorville, California. The event drew a live gate of $353,835 from 4,218 tickets sold.
Texas has remained among the few states to permit fans in attendance during the global health crisis, becoming boxing’s most-sought region as a result. The region hosted the first major U.S. show with fans in attendance, coming in an Oct. 31st Showtime Pay-Per-View event. Rising superstar Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis (24-0, 23KOs) headlined the show, scoring a highlight reel 6th round knockout of Leo Santa Cruz atop a card which generated $1,466,475 from 7,892 tickets sold at Alamodome in San Antonio.
The best-selling event to take place since the pandemic was produced by the state’s favorite son, Errol Spence Jr. The unbeaten, unified WBC/IBF welterweight titlist returned from a 14-plus month layoff—largely spent recovering from injuries sustained in a horrific Oct. 2019 car crash—to soundly outpoint former two-division champion Danny Garcia. The feat took place atop a Dec. 5th Fox Sports Pay-Per-View Event from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The show produced a live gate of $2,615,075 from 14,508 tickets sold.
Both figures eclipsed the state’s final show of 2020, which saw Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (55-1-2, 37KOs) become a four-division champion following a 12-round shutout of unbeaten Callum Smith to claim the WBC/WBA super middleweight titles. The Dec. 19th DAZN event generated $2,303,100 from 11,213 tickets sold at Alamodome.
Alvarez’s next fight in Texas threatens to break the state’s all-time combat sports box-office mark. The Mexican superstar faces England’s Billy Joe Saunders (30-0, 14KOs) on May 8 at AT&T Stadium. The entire venue will be made available for public ticket sales, in light of Gov. Greg Abbott announcing earlier this month that the state will allow businesses to operate at 100% capacity while lifting the mask mandate.
The most recent major boxing event to hit Texas came one week after Estrada-Gonzalez. Grand Prairie’s Vergil Ortiz (17-0, 17KOs) maintained his perfect knockout-to-win ratio with a 7th round stoppage of Dallas’ Maurice Hooker live on DAZN this past Saturday from Dickies Arena in nearby Fort Worth, Texas. Final ticket sales have not yet been made available, as promoters are permitted up to 10 days to return such figures to the state.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox