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Dougie’s Monday Mailbag (Estrada-Cuadras2, Chocolatito is still the King)

Juan Francisco Estrada became the first fighter to ever stop Carlos Cuadras. Photo by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom
26
Oct

I’LL EAT MY WORDS ABOUT ESTRADA

Hey Dougie,

Just wanted to talk a little bit about Gallo Estrada and Chocolatito. I’ve been very dismissive and negative towards Juan Francisco Estrada. I don’t like how he usually criticizes other fighters and how bitter he seems with other fighters’ purses, specifically about Canelo and most recently Lomachenko and Lopez. He was very vocal about how much money they make and how little they fight. I usually don’t like that. I think there’s really no reason to do that. I also thought he was being hypocritical when his fight was a rematch vs an over the hill Carlos Cuadras. A guy he had already beaten and that was obviously not in his best moment after showing us in the ring he was no longer in his prime and dealing with his own personal problems.

Well, I’ll eat my words. Cuadras came to fight and Estrada did give out a way more exciting performance than any of the above mentioned have in a while. These guys showed heart in a way only they could’ve done it.  I respect these guys a lot, and even if I don’t agree with the things he says (and trust me, he says a lot of nasty things about guys he shouldn’t be saying anything about) I will give him props for being a warrior in the ring.

Chocolatito is almost the exact opposite. He has always been a gentleman inside and outside the ring. He respects his opponents and as far as I know he’s never talked bs about anybody. I never root against my own countrymen but when Chocolatito and Estrada face each other againg I will be rooting for Roman Gonzalez (the only two times I’ve done that is with GGG vs Canelo and Rubio). I also expect a great fight because Estrada showed me once again that in the ring all the talk doesn’t matter, only your boxing ability and heart. If I had to pick a winner right now, I would probably go with Gallito as he seems to be a little closer to his prime than Chocolate. But I do think Roman may pull it off. He is indeed one of this era’s greats.

How would you rank him vs the best fighters of the last 20 years?

MM:

Gonzalez vs Chiquita

Gonzalez vs Sorjaturong

Gonzalez vs Carbajal

Gonzalez vs Yuri Arbachakov

Gonzalez vs Ricardo Lopez

Gonzalez vs Miguel Canto

Thanks. – Juan Valverde

Your Chocolatito Mythical Matchups –

Gonzalez vs ChiquitaGonzalez by late stoppage (at 108)

Gonzalez vs SorjaturongGonzalez by mid-to-late rounds KO (at 108)

Gonzalez vs CarbajalGonzalez by close UD (at 108)

Gonzalez vs Yuri ArbachakovArbachakov by close MD (at 112; UD at 115)

Gonzalez vs Ricardo LopezFinito by close UD (at 105; Chocolatito by close UD at 108)

Gonzalez vs Miguel CantoCanto by close MD or UD (at 112)

I’ve been very dismissive and negative towards Juan Francisco Estrada. What!? How dare you!

I don’t like how he usually criticizes other fighters and how bitter he seems with other fighters’ purses, specifically about Canelo and most recently Lomachenko and Lopez. OK. I guess I can see where you’re coming from. I don’t think boxing fans who just speak and read in English get the unfiltered version of Gallo. I’ve interviewed him (through a translator) a few times in the past and he always seemed cool and respectful (except for a few jabs at Canelo during the clenbuterol scandal, but everybody and his daddy was trying to be smart-ass comedian at that time so it really didn’t stand out to me).

He was very vocal about how much money they make and how little they fight. I usually don’t like that. I think there’s really

Gallo clocks SSR durign their rematch. Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/ Getty Images

no reason to do that. I would normally agree with you, but I’m going to give Estrada a pass. I can understand his frustration given the level he’s at as a fighter (he’s one of the most complete/versatile boxers in the game, on par with Bud Crawford IMO) and the Murderers’ Row he’s fought over the past nine years. Gallo has paid dues, but he’s not getting paid what he deserves. He’s faced a future hall of famer in Gonzalez (the peak, 33-0 version of Chocolatito), Srisake Sor Rungvisai (twice), Cuadras (twice), Brian Viloria (whom he dethroned for two flyweight titles), Tyson Marquez and former Ring 108-pound champ Giovani Segura. Even the lesser opponents that Gallo fought were solid, like Milan Melindo and Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr. (both of whom went on to win world titles after Estrada beat them).

I also thought he was being hypocritical when his fight was a rematch vs an over the hill Carlos Cuadras. A guy he had already beaten and that was obviously not in his best moment after showing us in the ring he was no longer in his prime and dealing with his own personal problems. Damn dude, you overlooked Cuadras as much as you dismissed Orlando Salido prior the Francisco Vargas fight. (You remember that? You shoulda been there at the War Grounds in Carson, California, witnessing the Fight of the Year under the stars.)

Well, I’ll eat my words. #Respect.

Cuadras came to fight and Estrada did give out a way more exciting performance than any of the above mentioned have in a while. That’s an understatement. Those to 115-pound badasses put on a Fight-of-the-Year candidate. I Tweeted this, but I’m gonna repeat it for the Mailbag record: Put them both in a time machine and send them back to the 1940s. Their balls are too big for this era.

These guys showed heart in a way only they could’ve done it. They did the Mexican boxing culture proud, which ain’t easy to do – in any era.

Chocolatito is almost the exact opposite. He has always been a gentleman inside and outside the ring. He respects his opponents and as far as I know he’s never talked bs about anybody. He’s too good for us. I’m serious.

I never root against my own countrymen but when Chocolatito and Estrada face each other again I will be rooting for Roman Gonzalez (the only two times I’ve done that is with GGG vs Canelo and Rubio). I can’t be mad at you for that. Chocolatito transcends national allegiances.

I also expect a great fight because Estrada showed me once again that in the ring all the talk doesn’t matter, only your boxing ability and heart. This is the truth. And Estrada lives up to his nickname.

If I had to pick a winner right now, I would probably go with Gallito as he seems to be a little closer to his prime than Chocolate. I agree that Estrada should be at least a slight favorite. He’s younger, fresher and almost as experienced, but you know I can’t go against Gonzalez. It’s a heart pick, but it’s not a long shot.

But I do think Roman may pull it off. He is indeed one of this era’s greats. #FACT. And guess what? It’s hard to outbox a pressure-fighting master who can drop 1,000 punches on ya over 12 rounds.

How would you rank him vs the best fighters of the last 20 years? Well, I think he’s No. 1 of the past 10 years, so he’s definitely among the 10 best since 2000.

 

THE LEGENDARY CHOCOLATITO

Hey Dougie hope this email finds you well.

I always take the time to read your mailbag. I’m a first-time writer and wanted to share some thoughts on the Chocolatito fight Friday night. I found that to be a fantastic fight! I thought both fighters did a great job but the former pound for pound king is just on a different level.

So many of my boxing buddies were writing him off after the brutal knockout he sustained from Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. He showed everyone again that he is still a force in boxing. His movement was on point as well as his timing. His gas tank was full for this fight and it showed. I didn’t really see a round that he “took off” as they say. He ended the fight throwing 1,000 punches, his timing was great and his ability to punch with power along with well-placed shots that are off speed to keep from being timed as easily. He was smooth and had sustained pressure for 3 minutes every round.

I think an underrated aspect to his game that I don’t hear a lot about is how well he blocks punches. That great aspect was on display Friday night. If Mayweather is the king of the shoulder roll Chocolatito is the king of blocking punches. He did an outstanding job this friday night. all night long he would move his elbows, arms, and gloves into a lot of shots that Gonzalaz was throwing. His vision and coordination to do this is top notch. Don’t get me wrong he is hitable and Gonzalez did a good job at connecting when he could but Chocolatito is truly great and is still a force. What is your take on this?

I’d like to comment on the main event but soon as it started my wife commandeered the TV to watch her shows (she is pregnant and plays the pregnancy card like a champ. I voiced my protest to her but was ultimately overruled). I heard it was a fantastic fight. How do you think the rematch Between Chocolatito and Estrada will play out? He did a fantastic job in beating up the young fighter Friday night, but Estrada is a whole different animal and it should make for a great fight.

Thanks for all that you do for us boxing fans and keep up the great work! – Joe from Frederick, Maryland

Firstly, Joe, thank you for the kind words and for finally penning your thoughts for the Mailbag column; please write again soon. Second, it’s OK abdicate the TV for your pregnant wife, but you should’ve continued watching the DAZN stream on another device (even if it was your phone), Estrada-Cuadras2 was too good to miss. (Do yourself a favor and watch it on demand, perhaps when your wife is asleep.)

Regarding the Estrada-Gonzalez rematch, if I’m being honest with myself, my favorite fighter is the underdog. Estrada is the Ring Magazine champ for a reason. He beat the man (Sor Rungvisai) who beat the man (Chocolatito). And Gallo, who gave a prime Gonzalez a run for his money back in 2012, is far more seasoned/battle tested now. Meanwhile, Gonzalez has the wear and tear of 52 pro fights over a 15-year career (12 years on the championship level, spanning four weight classes). Estrada should be the favorite in this anticipated showdown. However, he’s a veteran of 44 pro bouts himself, and he’s been in a few wars, including Saturday night’s Fight-of-the-Year candidate. Gallo ain’t spring chicken. Add to that his typically slow starts, and it’s not hard to envision the rejuvenated Chocolatito getting into his groove and outworking the proud Mexican champ.

Roman Gonzalez lands a right hand on Israel Gonzalez. Photo by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

I wanted to share some thoughts on the Chocolatito fight Friday night. I found that to be a fantastic fight! I was shamelessly enthralled by Chocolatito’s masterful relentlessness, but I also thought Jiga boxed and fought well throughout the title bout. He’s come up short three title shots over the past three years (vs. Jerwin Ancajas, Khalid Yafai and now Chocolatito) but at 23, I still think he’s got a bright future. The kid can fight. He was just outworked and outclassed by a human avalanche. What was got was a competitive one-sided bout.

I thought both fighters did a great job but the former pound for pound king is just on a different level. Chocolatito is clearly past his prime, but the only men who can f__k with him at 115 pounds are Estrada and Sor Rungvisai.

So many of my boxing buddies were writing him off after the brutal knockout he sustained from Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. I get that. I thought he would consider retirement after that, and part of me hoped that he would, but I never lost respect for who he was and what he’d done. Those so-called fans that celebrated his loss or tried to detract from his legacy, or worst of all, those that called him a “hype job,” were spewing pure SEWAGE in my eyes. If Gonzalez never won another fight following the Sor Rungvisai rematch, he’d still be a KING.

He showed everyone again that he is still a force in boxing. I’m thinking the 2020 Comeback of the Year belongs to Chocolatito. How about you?

His movement was on point as well as his timing. His gas tank was full for this fight and it showed. That’s what Chocolatito’s game is about now. He doesn’t have the size, power or physical strength to blast opponents out the way he did at 105 and 108 pounds, but he’s still a ring general with great outside and inside craft, so he’s overwhelming younger, bigger men with his workrate, footwork, timing and accuracy.

I didn’t really see a round that he “took off” as they say. He pushed himself hard in this fight. It was one-sided but it wasn’t easy. This is one of the things that makes him a special fighter: he never half-asses it.

I think an underrated aspect to his game that I don’t hear a lot about is how well he blocks punches. That great aspect was on display Friday night. I’m glad you noticed. I was awed by his skill in this department too.

If Mayweather is the king of the shoulder roll Chocolatito is the king of blocking punches. Chocolatito is the KING, period. (And he should have been Fighter of the Decade.)

 

NO LOVE FOR 115?

Morning Dougie,

Writing in on the back of a very good night, with three of my favourite fighters today all getting good wins and the rematch between Estrada and The King coming into play.

Don’t have a lot to say about Martinez getting the win. I’m more interested in the proposed rematch between Estrada and The King. The King did his thing against a very underrated fighter in my opinion, while Estrada had a very competitive (and fun) fight against Cuadras. I know their first fight was as close as it gets but Cuadras’ form hasn’t been the best recently and he was able to drop/push Estrada up until the stoppage. I know I’ve asked you about a rematch between Estrada and The King before but does last night change your opinion? (For what it’s worth, I’m betting on The King by MD… Estrada is not SSR).

I also wanted to ask why the lower weight classes never get any love from anyone but serious hardcores? Not a single person wrote into the mailbag on Friday to ask about what was shaping up to be a very good fight card. I’ve got a friend who I’ve recently introduced to boxing (which she’s loving) and I had to force her to watch Inoue/Donaire and we very rarely see lower weight fighters headline big fight nights (ain’t any different in MMA, the UFC’s lowest weight class is Flyweight at 125 and it suffers from all the problems I just mentioned). What gives?

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed the fights. – Euan, Dunfermline, Scotland

Hey, the average weight for an American male is close to 200 pounds. It’s safe to say most U.S. boxing fans were heavier than Chocolatito and Estrada when they were in fifth grade, and my guess is that the majority of American sports fans are conditioned to view professional athletes as faster, stronger and BIGGER than the average human being (of course the NFL and NBA delivers on this standard), so it might just be difficult for some to take the little guys of boxing (and MMA) as seriously as they do the glamor divisions (147, 160 and heavyweight). I think that’s a ridiculous mentality, because fighters like Estrada and Chocolatito are heads and shoulders above most of the elite boxers in the heavyweight weight classes in terms of skill and accomplishments (and balls!), but it is what it is.

Fighter of the Year Michael Carbajal on the April 1994 cover. (Photo by: The Ring Magazine/Getty Images)

Having said that, I gotta give props to the little giants (sub-bantamweights) of past decades, such as hall of famers Michael Carbajal, Chiquita Gonzalez, Johnny Tapia and Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson, who helped pave the way for the “SuperFly” players that later strutted their stuff on HBO (and a special shoutout to Tom Loeffler and Peter Nelson for bringing the 112-to-115-pound badasses to the premium cable network). And props to Sir Eddie of Matchroom Boxing for signing Estrada and Chocolatito with the intention of making what could be a historic rematch.

The King did his thing against a very underrated fighter in my opinion, while Estrada had a very competitive (and fun) fight against Cuadras. Chocolatito was forced to push hard against the young fringe contender and the former WBC titleholder proved his naysayers wrong by putting hands on the current Ring/WBC champ.

I know their first fight was as close as it gets but Cuadras’ form hasn’t been the best recently and he was able to drop/push Estrada up until the stoppage. I don’t want to take anything away from Cuadras’ effort, because he went out on his shield like an old-school warrior, but it’s possible that Estrada hit his peak with the Sor Rungvisai rematch and is now in the “diminishing returns” phase of his career. He didn’t look that sharp vs. Dewayne Beamon. Time will tell.

There’s only one “Chocolatito.” Photo: Naoki Fukuda

I know I’ve asked you about a rematch between Estrada and The King before but does last night change your opinion? (For what it’s worth, I’m betting on The King by MD… Estrada is not SSR). I’m gonna ride or die with Chocolatito. Prior to Friday’s fights I was going to pick Gonzalez just on emotion, but after Estrada-Cuadras2, I think he’s got a legit shot. But, as I’ve stated repeatedly, I think Estrada should be viewed as the favorite. He’s an elite fighter, ranked in Ring’s pound-for-pound top 10, Gonzalez is not. However, Chocolatito is legend. You never count out a legend.

 

ESTRADA VS. CHOCOLATITO 2, SAY IT AIN’T SO

hi dougie –

it’s been a minute. hope all is well with you during this crazy time.

for the first time in a long while i found myself really enjoying the fights on friday. even the poor lighting, comical background, lack of crowd and less than mediocre commentating couldn’t take away from the pure pleasure of watching the little men with ridiculous skills (and potentially even larger juevos) do their magic in the ring.

that being said, i get a bit cringy about estrada v lil’ choco. gonzalez was most impressive, but he couldnt hide his age. i would hate seeing him chopped to bits by el gallo (although if anyone deserves to do the honors, it should be juan estrada). still, as they say, you dont ‘play’ boxing, so i wish that rematch remained fodder for mythical matchups. until then, i’ll keep savoring how el gallo gored the little bull that is cuadras. need more of that in our lives! Best. – b (boston)

I understand your concern, B.

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Gonzalez has been in a lot of wars and he’s got a grueling fighting style (relentless pressure and volume punching). Every time he steps into the ring, regardless of the level of opponent, I brace myself for the possibility of it being the last time he’s able to perform to his high standards. He could hit the proverbial “wall” any night. I could “get old overnight,” as the old boxing adage goes.

But here’s the thing, he’s earned the right to finish out his hall-of-fame career however he wishes. And while his ring style is not one for longevity, he’s lived a clean life and he always gives 100% in training, so if he’s even 75% of what he was during his prime, he’s going to be a VERY hard man to beat, even for a champion as proud, complete and decorated as Estrada.

And don’t forget that Estrada had a long flyweight title reign (vs. some badasses) plus 48 rounds with Sor Rungvisai and Cuadras. There’s some wear on his tires. Trust me on that. And if Cuadras and Beamon can put hands on Estrada, Gonzalez is going A LOT more hands on the elite Mexican. If Estrada can’t hurt him or stick-and-move on him (which is hard to do because Chocolatito knows how to cut the ring off) he might get outhustled as he was in 2012.

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and join him, Tom Loeffler, Coach Schwartz and friends via Tom’s Periscope or Dougie’s IG Live every Sunday.

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