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Juan Francisco Estrada stops Carlos Cuadras in thrilling war

Boxing Junkie logo Boxing Junkie 10/24/2020 Michael Rosenthal
Juan Francisco Estrada holding a microphone © Provided by Boxing Junkie

Juan Francisco Estrada got his rematch with Roman Gonzalez. But he had to go through hell to get it.

Estrada stopped Carlos Cuadras late in Round 11 of a classic Mexican-style brawl Friday night at the Gimnasio TV Azteca in Mexico City, setting up a second meeting with Gonzalez, who outpointed Israel Gonzalez on the same card.

Estrada and Cuadras gave fans a great fight in 2017, with Estrada winning a close decision that was decided by a late knockdown. That fight was nothing compared with the rematch.

The fighters came out firing almost from the opening bell and never really let up, turning the bout into a war of attrition.

Cuadras drew first blood in the final minute of Round 3, when a left hook sent Estrada tumbling into the ropes for a knockdown, which made it clear that the favored fighter had his work cut out.

a person standing in front of a crowd © Provided by Boxing Junkie

Carlos Cuadras (left) put Juan Francisco Estrada down in the third round. Ed Mulholland / Matchroom Boxing

And that’s how he reacted. He came out for Round 4 as if he was angry. The counter puncher turned into an aggressive warrior, taking the fight to Cuadras in an obvious effort to compensate for what had happened the previous round.

Cuadras’ mouth was hanging open before the fight was half over, a sign that he was beginning to tire. However, inspired by the moment, he persevered and continued to give almost as much as he took.

Estrada, who landed the more precise, harder punches, seemed to have a clear advantage on the cards going into the final few rounds but Cuadras had a few strong stanzas down the stretch. That gave him hope going into Round 11.

However, the punishing shots Cuadras absorbed – including many to the body – finally took their toll. Estrada put him down with a right that clipped the top of his head about 15 seconds into the round. He then landed another right that put Cuadras on his behind.

The referee allowed the fight to continue even though Cuadras was hurt and exhausted but a flurry of punches convinced the official that enough was enough and he stopped the fight, which preserved Estrada’s junior bantamweight title.

The official time of the stoppage was 2:22.

With the victory, Estrada (41-3, 28 KOs) bolstered the perception that he’s the best fighter in the lowest weight classes. More important to him perhaps, he is now expected to get another shot at Gonzalez early next year.

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Cuadras went down twice and couldn’t make it out of the 11th round.  Ed Mulholland/Matchroom.

The two met for the first time in 2012, when Estrada was only 22. Gonzalez won a clear unanimous decision but the loser made a statement. It was obvious to anyone who saw that fight that Estrada had something special.

Of course, things are different today. Estrada might be at his peak at 30 years old. Gonzalez, 33, was thought to be finished when he lost back-to-back fights to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in 2017 but rebounded to reclaim a title and his place among the elite 115-pounders.

Estrada would have it no other way. He has coveted a rematch with his rival for eight years. He wants to fight – and beat – the best version of Gonzalez possible.

Well, he’ll finally get his chance. After what we saw on Friday, the only sure winners will be the fans.

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