By Cliff Rold
It was competitive for a while but the one-sided expectations eventually played out in brutal fashion.
25-year old WBA and WBO Flyweight titlist Juan Francisco Estrada (33-2, 23 KO) of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, did his part to keep alive a potential divisional superfight on Saturday night at the Centro Convenciones in Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico. Scoring seven knockdowns on the night, Estrada laid a beating on 27-year old former WBA titlist Hernan “Tyson” Marquez (39-6-1, 28 KO) of Empalme, Sonora, Mexico, to defend his titles for the fifth time.
The question remains whether fans can look forward to a unification showdown with the last man to defeat him, lineal and WBC World Champion Roman Gonzalez, in 2016. The two engaged in a Fight of the Year candidate in 2012 at Jr. Flyweight with Gonzalez winning a unanimous decision. Estrada won his titles in his very next fight against Brian Viloria and extends his win streak to seven straight. His only other career loss, to then-future 115 lb. titlist Juan Carlos Sanchez, came in an eight-round affair in 2011. Estrada avenged that loss by tenth round stoppage later in the year.
Gonzalez is currently scheduled to face former unified titlist Brian Viloria on October 17th on the undercard of Gennady Golovkin-David Lemieux. Should Viloria upset Gonzalez, Estrada could be looking at a different lucrative rematch sometime next year.
Both Estrada and Marquez weighed in for Saturday’s fight at the division limit of 112 lbs. The referee was Ramon Pena.
The southpaw Marquez comported himself well in the first two rounds, looking for counters as Estrada worked the jab and tried to figure out the right range against the veteran. The mixed it up in an entertaining round three, Marquez rocking Estrada a couple of times as they exchanged hard shots.
Countering more and making Marquez miss, Estrada started to take over the fight in the fourth and in the fifth was in clear control. When the challenger exchanged, it was Estrada landing harder and finishing the exchanges. With Marquez against the ropes late in the latter round, Estrada appeared on the verge of a knockdown but an awkward break in the action broke the momentum.
Estrada had to wait for his first, and second, knockdowns in the sixth. Focusing to the body, Estrada dropped Marquez with a vicious right to the body. Marquez rose and was overwhelmed on the ropes with a series of blows to the flanks. Little time was left in the round and Marquez made it to the corner.
Another body shot, this time a single left, dropped Marquez just past the halfway mark of the seventh. The same shot scored the fourth knockdown moments later. Marquez beat both counts and got up still swinging. It paid off late in the round as Marquez was able to land over the top on an aggressive Estrada and force an exchange. Estrada shook it off as the bell sounded.
Marquez’s next trip to the floor came on a trip in a gutsy eighth round. Digging deep, Marquez battled an Estrada willing to go to the trenches in pursuit of a knockout. Abandoning his body attack to a degree, Estrada got back to putting Marquez down in the next round, at least officially. A tangle of legs sent Marquez down but didn’t appear to be a legitimate knockdown. Marquez got up and kept firing but there didn’t seem to be much power left in his mitts.
Returning to the body, Estrada landed a stiff right and followed with a left to the head to put Marquez on his back a minute into round ten. Marquez, brave to the end, got up for the sixth time. He wouldn’t stay up long. Estrada opened up and closed the show with a brutal right to the face. Marquez dropped to the canvas and Pena waved the fight over at 1:16 of round ten.
Marquez came into the bout rated third by both the WBA and WBO despite not having won a fight at the Flyweight limit since June 2013 and not having fought there since a loss to Giovani Segura in November of that year. Marquez drops to 5-4-1 in his last ten fights with all of the losses coming via knockout.
In the televised Lightweight opener, 23-year old Miguel Berchelt (27-1, 24 KO), 133, of Merida, Yucatán, Mexico, scored knockdowns in rounds three and five to easily stop 20-year old Josue Bendana (9-6-4, 5 KO), 132 ½, of Managua, Nicaragua, in five rounds. It was the first stoppage loss in the career of Bendana. Berchelt extends his win streak to six, all by stoppage, since his lone career loss to Luis Flores in March 2014.
The referee was Porfidio Pinato.
Berchelt controlled the action from the outset behind a good jab. He dropped Bendana and had him hurt at the end of the third. Time ran out and Bendana responded to the knockdown by pressing to start the fourth but his outburst was quickly stymied. In the fifth, a sustained assault in the corner drew the stoppage at 1:34 of round five.
Berchelt entered the bout rated at 130 lbs. by both the WBC (#6) and WBO (#1).
The card was televised in the US on BeIn Espanol and was promoted by Zanfer.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]