New Faces: Shawn Estrada
Hometown: East Los Angeles, Calif.
Weight class: middleweight
Height / reach: 6-0 / 75 inches
Amateur record: 110-7
Turned pro: 2008
Pro record: 2-0, 2 knockouts
Trainer: Rodrigo Mosquera
Managers: Arnulfo Bravo, Don Morandini and Eric Scholnick
Promoter: Goossen Tutor
Highlight of amateur career: Beating Fernando Guerrero and Daniel Jacobs, both national champions who were heavily favored over Estrada, en route to winning the 165-pound title at the 2007 U.S. Olympic Trials to qualify for the 2008 U.S. Olympic team.
Worst bout of amateur career: Losing his second round match in the Olympic tournament in Beijing, China to the eventual 165-pound gold medalist, James Degale of Great Britain.
Next fight: Faces Ray Craig (5-4, two knockouts) in his third pro bout on the Samuel Peter-Eddie Chambers undercard at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on March 27. His four-round bout will be the opening fight on the ESPN2 Friday Night Fights broadcast.
Why he’s a prospect: Like his nickname “El Chamuko” (“Monster”) would suggest, Estrada is a big, strong, physically imposing boxer who applies relentless pressure and delivers non-stop power punches. His will and mental focus are as strong as his body. He doesn’t possess the natural gifts or athletic prowess of his amateur peers, Guerrero and Jacob, but was able to press and outwork both standouts in the Olympic Trials. Estrada also has a good work ethic and should benefit from the highly competitive gyms in Southern California, where he has sparred with the likes of Antonio Margarito, Fernando Vargas, Sergio Mora, and Vanes Martirosyan.
Why he’s a suspect: Although he won a number of junior amateur titles, Estrada was a perennial open-class bridesmaid on the national amateur scene, always losing to 165-pound rivals Guerrero and Jacobs in the semi-finals and finals of national tournaments. He had never won an open-class national title until his upset run in the 2007 U.S. Olympic trials. While he makes for an exciting pro with his aggressive style, he has yet to show the kind of patience, poise and technique expected of boxers with his extensive amateur background. Like all new pros, the quality of his chin has yet to be proven.
Story lines: Estrada’s father, Juan, was an amateur boxer who was good enough to be on Mexico’s national team. Juan transferred his love of boxing to his sons, who took up boxing at early ages. Shawn, who was born and raised in East L.A., began boxing at 10 and had the most desire and talent among his brothers to compete on the state and national level. He won the 2000 Junior Olympic title at age 14 and the 2001 Pan-American Games title, beating the top Cuban and Puerto Rican boxers in his weight class and age bracket. However, Estrada’s junior amateur career ended abruptly after his brother was killed in a gang-related shooting. Estrada lost interest in boxing and focused on his studies and scholastic sports like track and football. Estrada didn’t resume his amateur career until after high school. He put on weight while attending classes at East L.A. College and his father noted that he was out of shape. Estrada returned to the gym to get back in shape and was bit by the boxing bug again.
Estrada fulfilled his father’s dream by making the Olympic team, but heart and kidney problems prevented Juan from traveling to Beijing to watch his son compete. Juan’s health deteriorated during the Olympic Games and he died the morning after Estrada’s second-round loss to the eventual 165-pound gold medalist.
The bitter-sweet story of Estrada and his father captured the public’s sympathy during the Olympic Games and his promoter, Dan Goossen, believes Estrada’s fiery personality has the potential to recapture the fans' attention as a pro.
“The last two fights we’ve done with him, we realize how crazy he is, and I mean that in a good way — he really wants to fight and he can’t wait to get it on — and I think that will segue into fan attention,” Goossen said. “He’s something to behold, especially at the weigh-ins, where he has his opponents pissing in their pants. I think that’s real with him, it’s not an act, and I think he’s going to attract fans just with that part of his personality.
“He likes to fight and likes to knock guys out. I think that’s what fans want to see.”
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Doug Fischer can be reached at [email protected]