Now that decision-makers for DAZN and Matchroom Boxing realize Juan Francisco Estrada won’t be able to fight Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez a third time March 5, they’re trying to find a suitable replacement to keep the streaming service’s main event intact for that night.
BoxingScene.com has learned that discussions are ongoing internally to make a bout between Nicaragua’s Gonzalez and another Mexican champion, Julio Cesar Martinez. A fight against Gonzalez (50-3, 41 KOs) would require Mexico City’s Martinez (18-1, 14 KOs, 2 NC), the WBC flyweight champion, to move up three pounds, from the 112-pound limit to the 115-pound maximum.
Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom is Martinez’s promoter and has promoted two of Gonzalez’s past three fights, which should help in the negotiating process.
Hermosillo’s Estrada (42-3, 28 KOs) was supposed to defend his WBA “super” 115-pound championship in his rubber match with Gonzalez, a former champion in four divisions. Their third fight was the main event hardcore boxing fans anticipated most when DAZN announced its eight-event schedule for February and March earlier this month.
Estrada, 31, contracted COVID-19 recently, though, and his recovery has prevented him from training. Gonzalez, 34, still wants to box March 5 because he hasn’t competed since Estrada defeated him by split decision last March 13 at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
If Gonzalez were to fight Martinez or another opponent March 5 at Pechanga Arena in San Diego, DAZN executives would want to try to reschedule Estrada-Gonzalez III later this year. They initially were supposed to square off a third time October 16, but Gonzalez tested positive for COVID-19 and that plan was scrapped.
The result of the Estrada-Gonzalez rematch was considered controversial primarily because judge Carlos Sucre somehow scored Estrada a 117-111 winner over Gonzalez.
Judge Jesse Reyes scored their second bout 115-113 for Estrada. Judge David Sutherland scored Gonzalez a 115-113 winner.
Their rematch, which was a consensus “Fight of the Year” candidate for 2021, occurred more than eight years after Gonzalez defeated Estrada by unanimous decision in their 12-round fight for Gonzalez’s WBA world light flyweight title. Gonzalez beat Estrada by scores of 118-110, 116-112 and 116-112 in that November 2012 bout at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.