Wednesday, March 22, 2023  |



Carlos Cuadras can punch ticket to title shot with win over Juan Francisco Estrada


CARSON, Calif. — Carlos Cuadras couldn’t stop laughing. Smiling. Joking.

To say he was loose at Thursday’s news conference would be akin to saying Floyd Mayweather enjoys crisp dollar bills.

Cuadras (36-1-1, 27 knockouts) pulled out a rubber chicken, and promised — with a wry smirk — to turn his opponent, Juan Francisco Estrada, into just that, a play on his sobriquet, El Gallo (The Rooster).

“I’m going to unfeather you and I’m very prepared to do that,” Cuadras says through a translator across the dais to Estrada (35-2, 25 KOs), whom he faces Saturday in the televised opener of an HBO tripleheader featuring all 115-pound bouts. “I’m strong, I’m fast and I’m very, very handsome.”

The fight pits two of the top-5 junior bantamweights in the world in a WBC title eliminator. That means the victor will be mandated to meet the winner of the rematch between Wisaksil Wangek and Roman Gonzalez in the main event.

Cuadras, 29, actually held that same 115-pound belt before he dropped it to “Chocolatito” via razor-thin decision defeat last September. The Mexican pressure fighter rebounded with a win over David Carmona in March on the undercard of Wangek-Gonzalez I, but he didn’t resemble the fighter that pushed Chocolatito to the brink just six months earlier.

“I didn’t have good preparation, I didn’t have good motivation and I wasn’t well-prepared for that fight,” Cuadaras told “Now I really want to get the title back and I trained in the best possible way. … When I didn’t get the immediate rematch (with Gonzalez) I got a little depressed.”

“Príncipe” (Prince) knows he has an arduous assignment ahead of him with a bout against one of the best fighters in the world, but he’s undeterred. He’s confident his superior ring IQ and speed will finish Estrada inside eight or nine rounds.

“I’m really well-prepared, I think he didn’t train properly,” Cuadras says, “and I’m going to knock him out.”

Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger