By Francisco Salazar
Juan Francisco Estrada is not letting the loss to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai get to him.
He would love to again be a world titleholder, but he believes a rematch against the Thai fighter or against 'Chocolatito' Gonzalez' is inevitable. He is also appreciative that many boxing fans believe he is the best fighter at 115 pounds.
For those rematches and other high-profile fights to occur in 2019, Estrada has to face a hard-hitting countryman with nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Estrada will face Felipe Orucuta tonight at The Forum in Inglewood, California. The 12 round bout will headline a three-bout HBO telecast (9:45 p.m. ET/ 6:45 p.m. PT).
The 28-year-old Estrada, who resides in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, is favored to defeat Orucuta (36-4, 30 knockouts), who has won his last five bouts against average opposition.
Whether tonight's fight is a showcase for Estrada, he wants to perform at his best and push for a rematch with Sor Rungvisai. Estrada thought an immediate rematch with him was taking place tonight.
"We were expecting the rematch against Sor Rungvisai, and we were disappointed that it didn't happen," Estrada told Boxingscene.com in a recent interview. "It is similar to where I never got the rematch against 'Chocolatito' Gonzalez. But I continued with my career, looking for world champions to face. If the opportunity is given to face any champion, we'll take it."
Estrada has the unique distinction of fighting on every 'SuperFly' card (so far). The 115-pound division is loaded with elite fighters where on a given night, top fighters can be matched against one another.
Even if a fight against Sor Rungvisai or Gonzalez cannot be made, there is the possibility he could face Donnie Nietes or Aston Palicte, who are fighting for the vacant WBO title. Even a fight against McWilliams Arroyo or Kazuto Ioka are also options.
"All the fighters on the 'SuperFly3' card are great fighters," said Estrada, who is promoted by Zanfer Promotions. "I don't think of myself as the best super flyweight. My style might make boxing fans think so, but I have to become a world champion to show that I am the best."
Estrada has come a long way since the loss to Gonzalez in November of 2012. A natural flyweight, Estrada went down to 108 pounds to face Gonzalez, but would later win world title belts at 112 and 115 pounds.
He might be at the peak of his career, but Estrada has worked to get better with each fight.
"My style has evolved over the years and boxing fans notice that. When it comes to who I should fight, I listen to them. There are those that say I'm the best Mexican fighter today. My goal is winning a world title to demonstrate that I am the best."
"Every fighter is different, but the boxing fans will decide whether I am the best or not."
Estrada is a fan-favorite for his boxer-puncher style and because he is willing to face the best in the division.
He hopes a convincing win tonight will help push for a rematch against Sor Rungvisai or Gonzalez in 2019, with the hopes of becoming a world titleholder.
"I want that rematch with Sor Rungvisai, but I really want that second fight with 'Chocolatito.' If he wins a world title, I want to fight him. People want to see that fight. I hope he wins his fight on Sept. 15 so we can fight in the future."
Francisco A. Salazar has written for BoxingScene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing