Eddie Hearn admits he felt “like a fanboy” watching Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman Gonzalez go at it Saturday night at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
The British promoter considers their thrilling rematch the best fight he has ever witnessed live. That’s why Hearn, who is Estrada’s co-promoter, wants nothing more than to arrange their rubber match for later this year.
The potential problem is Estrada has a mandatory defense of his WBC super flyweight title due next against Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.
Like Gonzalez, the Thai southpaw has split a pair of 12-round fights versus Estrada, who won the WBA 115-pound title from Gonzalez. Sor Rungvisai (50-5-1, 43 KOs) also stepped aside to allow the Estrada-Gonzalez rematch to take place.
That doesn’t necessarily mean, according to Hearn, that Estrada-Sor Rungvisai III will be scheduled next. He explained during his weekly appearance on “The Ak & Barak Show” that public demand for Estrada-Gonzalez III might make Estrada embrace that bout instead.
“So, Estrada has a mandatory against Rungvisai,” Hearn told co-hosts Barak Bess and Akin Reyes, whose show streams weekdays on DAZN and SiriusXM. “So, it’s difficult. But the whole world wants to see number three [between Estrada and Gonzalez]. You know, so, it’s like, do you wanna keep the WBC belt? Or are you at the stage where, you know, you wanna go where the demand is, where the money is, where the fans are at?”
Mexico’s Estrada (42-3, 28 KOs) avenged his loss eight years ago to Nicaragua’s Gonzalez (50-3, 41 KOs), but his split-decision victory over the four-division champion is considered controversial.
Judge Carlos Sucre stunningly scored nine rounds for Estrada, who won 117-111 on Sucre’s card. Judge David Sutherland scored their action-packed, back-and-forth fight 115-113 for Estrada, who lost 115-113 according to judge Jesse Reyes.
The scoring notwithstanding, Hearn was surprised Estrada and Gonzalez both demanded a third fight following such a brutal battle.
“It’s quite funny because I thought Estrada would have no interest in fighting ‘Chocolatito’ again,” Hearn said. “You know, he avenged the defeat, it was a close fight, he got the decision, you know? And I thought ‘Chocolatito’ might go, ‘Do you know what? That was another war. I’m getting old now.’ I reckon within 10 minutes of the fight, both teams had already told me they wanna do number three. Do you know what I mean? So, [we’ve] still got a little bit of work to do. But I think September-time. We’ve gotta sort out the Rungvisai situation. He’s gotta get a shot at the title. So, I don’t know, but I just wanna see it again.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.