Juan Francisco Estrada is trying to keep his attention on one rematch at a time.
The WBC super flyweight champion doesn’t deny his strong desire, however, to finally fight Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez again. If Estrada conquers Carlos Cuadras in their rematch Friday night at TV Azteca studios in Mexico City and Gonzalez overcomes Israel Gonzalez on the undercard, they likely will meet in their own rematch next.
Nicaragua’s Gonzalez defeated Estrada by unanimous decision in their 12-round, 108-pound championship match nearly eight years ago in Los Angeles.
“That is a fight everyone is waiting for,” Estrada told BoxingScene.com through a translator. “It’s been eight years. It will be a very different fight, the rematch. Now that we’re both world champions in the same division, it makes it more interesting.
“I don’t like to talk about moves before fighting another opponent, but that is the plan. If we both win, it’s 80-to-90 percent that the rematch is happening next.”
Mexico’s Estrada (40-3, 27 KOs) feels inexperience cost him when Gonzalez decisively defeated him in November 2012. He has gone 14-1 since then, including a 12-round, unanimous-decision defeat of Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, the only opponent who has beaten the former pound-for-pound king.
Thailand’s Sor Rungvisai (49-5-1, 42 KOs) edged Gonzalez by majority decision in their first fight, a 12-rounder in March 2017 at Madison Square Garden in New York. There was no doubt about the outcome of their immediate rematch, in which Sor Rungvisai battered Gonzalez (49-2, 41 KOs), dropped him twice and knocked him out in the fourth round the same night Estrada barely beat Cuadras.
Mexico’s Estrada didn’t predict a knockout if he gets Gonzalez in the ring again, but he believes he would win handily.
“It will be very different,” Estrada said. “In the first fight, I was an inexperienced fighter. I was 21 years old and I was fighting in a division that wasn’t my division. Right now, I have more experience, more fights and have fought world champions. That will make the difference in the rematch. I think I can easily beat Roman Gonzalez.”
Estrada and Gonzalez would meet two weight classes above the limit at which they fought the first time if they succeed in their respective title defenses Friday night.
The 30-year-old Estrada expects to defeat Cuadras (39-3-1, 27 KOs) by bigger margins than he did three years ago, when the 10th-round knockdown Estrada produced was all that separated them on each scorecard at StubHub Center in Carson, California (114-113, 114-113, 114-113). Estrada also anticipates Roman Gonzalez will beat Israel Gonzalez (25-3, 11 KOs) in the bout DAZN will stream before he encounters Cuadras again in the main event of a show that’ll begin at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.
“Everyone expects that Chocolatito will win this fight, but I know Israel Gonzalez,” Estrada said. “I had many sparring sessions with him. He has experience. Maybe he will give Roman problems, but I think that Roman will win this fight.”
Roman Gonzalez impressed Estrada by beating England’s Kal Yafai (26-1, 15 KOs) by ninth-round technical knockout in his last fight, February 29 at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas. That victory earned the 33-year-old Gonzalez the WBA super flyweight title, which he’ll defend for the first time versus Israel Gonzalez.
“After he got knocked out by Sor Rungvisai, he came back and flourished,” Estrada said. “He knocked out Kal Yafai in their fight, he got two knockdowns and he seemed really good. Everyone thought that Chocolatito was in the last years of his professional career, but he demonstrated that he’s still on a good level. That was a good fight for him.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.