Juan Estrada puts his WBC Super Flyweight title on the line against Carlos Cuadras in a rematch of a 2017 Mexican Derby that went to the wire in Mexico City on Friday on DAZN.
Estrada (40-3, 27 KOs) won by one point on all three cards, a tenth round knockdown proving pivotal in what was a close fight.
Estrada first fought for world honours back in 2012, outscored by Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez for the WBA Light Flyweight crown, but he responded to that loss by moving up to Flyweight and taking Brian Viloria’s WBA (Super) and WBO belts via split decision.
The Mexican defended four times before moving up to Super Flyweight, where he edged Cuadras in September 2017. The win set up a shot at Srisaket Sor Rungvisai’s WBC belt in February 2018, and after an absorbing fight, it was the Thai who had his hand raised by majority decision.
It would take just over a year for a rematch, and Estrada turned the tables, winning the title via close decision. ‘El Gallo’ made a maiden defence in his last outing, back in August last year, coming home to stop Dewayne Beamon in nine.
Cuadras (39-3-1, 27 KOs) shares common opponents with Estrada in both Sor Rungvisai and Gonzalez, who appears on this bill. ‘Principe’ won the WBC Super Flyweight crown from Srisaket via technical decision in 2014, and defended six times before Gonzalez took his belt with a unanimous points win in September 2016.
The 32-year-old is 4-3 in his last seven fights, losing to Estrada, and then to McWilliams Arroyo in the space of five months. He is on a run of three straight wins, but against lower level opposition, and his last fight saw him take a tight majority points win against Jose Maria Cardenas.
Prediction: This is such a well matched contest, with the pair only separated by a knockdown last time out. Cuadras came on strong in the second half of that fight, but I feel he has regressed slightly since the original meeting. This could go all the way to the wire again, but I favour Estrada to come through.
The plan, mainly for Estrada, is for an early 2021 unification showdown with Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez and the Nicaraguan appears here to drum up further interest in a rematch by defending his WBA ‘Super’ Super Flyweight crown against his namesake in Mexican, Israel Gonzalez.
There was much hype surrounding four-weight world champion Chocolatito (49-2, 41 KOs), as he cut a swathe through the lower weights, winning world titles at Minimumweight, Light Flyweight and Flyweight before taking Cuadras’ WBC Super Flyweight crown in 2016.
His record after that win sat at 46-0, and greatness beckoned, but almost overnight, the 33-year-old’s stock plummeted, first being dropped in the opener and losing a razor-thin decision to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, and then being spectacularly knocked out in four rounds in the rematch.
Two confidence boosting low key wins set up a shot at Kal Yafai’s WBA Super Flyweight belt in February 2020, and the notions that Gonzalez was finished were unfounded, as he dominated the Brit, securing a ninth round stoppage.
He will want to safely repel the challenge of Israel Gonzalez (25-3, 11 KOs), with the 23-year-old failing on two previous world title attempts against Jerwin Ancajas in 2018 and Kal Yafai, who he was unlucky to be on the wrong end of a decision of nine months later.
He’s won two straight since, with his last a split decision success in Japan against Sho Ishida in December 2019.
Prediction: Chocolatito should be able to turn back the challenge of Gonzalez here, and move on to lucrative rematches. I expect the Mexican to take the fight to his opponent early on, but Roman should take over for a stoppage win down the stretch.
Rounding off the smaller weight action is WBC Flyweight champion, Julio Cesar Martinez. He was due to take on his fellow Mexican, and IBO champion, Maximino Flores, but Flores tested positive for Coronavirus, and has been replaced by Moises Calleros (33-9-1, KO17), also from Mexico.
Martinez (16-1, 12 KOs) should have won the belt from Charlie Edwards last August, but a body shot well after Edwards had hit the canvas from an original body punch, meant the WBC declared it a no contest.
Martinez won the vacant belt left behind by Edwards four months later though, stopping Cristofer Rosales in nine. His first defence was in February, dropping the brave Welshman, Jay Harris, on the way to a comfortable points win.
This should be a routine outing for the Martinez, with Calleros (33-9-1, 17 KOs) at best, a fringe contender at the smallest weights.
The 31-year-old lost an interim WBO Minimumweight bout in Japan in February 2017 to Tatsuya Fukuhara via split decision, and then retired after eight, one-sided rounds against Ryuya Yamanaka for the full belt in March 2018.
Calleros has been stopped three times in nine defeats, but is on a run of five straight wins, with his last coming in February this year, winning all six rounds against Javier Romano.
Prediction: Martinez is a spiteful and hurtful puncher, and will pressurise Calleros early on here in an attempt to unsettle his short notice opponent. I fancy Martinez to make a statement, and remove Calleros before halfway.
Unbeaten American prospects Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams (5-0, 4 KOs), Otha Jones III (5-0, 2 KOs) and Diego Pacheco (9-0, 7 KOs) are all in action in the preliminaries.
Williams takes on Esau Herrera (19-11-1, 8 KOs), Jones meets Alejandro Palmero (8-6-1, 3 KOs) and Pacheco faces Juan Antonio Mendez (12-2-2, 10 KOs).