Ring Ratings Update: Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman Gonzalez are still ‘Super Fly’
Juan Francisco Estrada reminded fans that he’s one of the best boxers on the planet by turning back a courageous challenge from familiar foe Carlos Cuadras on October 23 in Mexico City. The current Ring Magazine/WBC 115-pound champ and the former holder of the green belt traded knockdowns during a nip-and-tuck battle waged until a dramatic 11th-round finish. Estrada (41-3, 28 KOs), a 30-year-old two-division champ and No. 9 on The Ring’s pound-for-pound rankings going into the rematch, got up from a third-round knockdown and dropped Cuadras (39-4-1, 27 KOs) twice in Round 11 to score a dramatic stoppage in a strong fight-of-the-year candidate.
The return-bout victory set up another – more anticipated – rematch for the Mexican veteran, a second shot at future hall-or-famer Roman Gonzalez (50-2, 41 KOs), who defended his WBA 115-pound belt with a unanimous decision over former two-time title challenger Israel Gonzalez in the co-featured bout of the Matchroom/Zanfer-promoted event (which was streamed live in the U.S. on DAZN).
In 2012, a prime “Chocolatito” defended his WBA 108-pound title with a hard-fought unanimous decision over a then-unknown Estrada, who won the WBA/WBO flyweight belts from Brian Viloria in his very next fight. The two continued to dominate their respective divisions until Gonzalez lost back-to-back fights to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in 2017 (Estrada narrowly outpointed Cuadras in the co-feature to the Sor Rungvisai-Gonzalez rematch). Estrada split fights with Sor Rungvisai after defeating Cuadras for the first time, dropping a majority decision in 2018 and winning a unanimous nod in 2019 to earn Ring/WBC 115-pound titles and gain overdue pound-for-pound recognition. Gonzalez, a former pound-for-pound king, recaptured his form in February, lifting the WBA title from undefeated Kal Yafai via ninth-round stoppage. Chocolatito is no longer in his prime but he’s clearly still a handful for any 115 pounder, as he proved by outhustling the 23-year-old “Jiga” Gonzalez over 12 rounds, which has hardcore fans salivating over the prospect of a unification rematch with Estrada.
For now, the Ring Ratings Panel pondered advancing Estrada in the mythical rankings. Panelist Anson Wainwright got the debate going.
“Juan Estrada maintains his position with an off-the-canvas win over Carlos Cuadras,” said Wainwright. “(He’s) very worthy of his position in the top 10, terrific fighter. I could see him advancing one place off this win.”
Associate Editor Tom Gray agreed with Wainwright’s suggestion.
“Yeah, I can see Estrada going over (No. 8 Gennadiy Golovkin) on this list. Stopping Cuadras is no mean feat and getting off the floor to do it is impressive.”
Panelists Martin Mulcahey and Diego Morilla did not agree.
“I vote to keep Estrada in his place at No. 9,” said Mulcahey. “While Cuadras showed his worth, remember he was coming out of rehab pretty much and off a close win in his previous fight against an average foe. Estrada was also knocked down, but yes showed his poise regaining momentum and taking control of fight. Given that it’s an inactive GGG is above him I won’t complain loudly if he does go up a spot.”
“I don’t see Estrada above Golovkin at this point. GGG was never in real trouble recently or pretty much ever (much less on the floor) like Estrada was, and as much as I love Cuadras, he was coming off a few less-than-stellar performances, so getting off the canvas to defeat him was the least I expected from Estrada (who looked truly awesome after his initial rough patch, by the way, but just not enough for me to put him above GGG).”
However, panelists Adam Abramowitz and Michael Montero concurred with Wainwright and Gray.
“I agree with moving Estrada up one spot over Golovkin,” said Montero. “The Cuadras win was elite, and GGG has not fought this year.”
RING RATINGS UPDATE:
Pound for pound: Juan Francisco Estrada advances one spot to No. 8.
Welterweight: Sergey Lipinets (16-1-1, 12 KOs) remains at No. 9 after fighting unrated Custio Clayton (18-0-1, 12 KOs) to a split draw over 12 close rounds.
“I think I would switch Lipinets with (No. 10-rated) Mikey Garcia. Garcia won their head-to-head encounter, albeit at 140, and is coming off a win. This (fight) showed Lipinets flaws as much as his fighting spirit.”
“I’m not mega fussed about moving Mikey above Lipinets by default. The fight at 140 doesn’t mean anything in these rankings and I’d prefer Mikey to move up based on his own results, not someone else’s. He’s still 1-1 at this weight.”
“I had Clayton beating Sergey Lipinets, but I also picked him publicly before the fight so maybe saw fight in that light. Draw seemed a good decision overall. Agree putting Lipinets down one spot, given Garcia wide win in their meeting. Not knowing at what weight Garcia really belongs in ratings makes it harder, would not be against bringing Clayton in at No. 10 and dropping Garcia out if need be. May be time to start considering activity in top 10 placements once again. Garcia also looked really big in that interview, so maybe welterweight will be his weight. Confusing (ha ha).”
“I’d keep Lipinets over Mikey for now. He’s got the better overall body of work at 147. But can definitely make an argument for flipping them.”
“I am not sold on Lipinets, and I think this fight exposed many of his shortcomings, but I agree with Michael on this issue: let’s see Mikey earn his stripes at 147 before demoting a proven (albeit not a very exciting or specially gifted) guy like Lipinets.”
Junior bantamweight: Estrada remains Ring Magazine champion. Roman Gonzalez remains at No. 2. Cuadras remains at No. 10.
“I would keep Cuadras at No. 10, it was a good enough performance that he still merit’s top 10 status. I’d like to see someone take if from him,” said Wainwright. “Chocolatito didn’t have the zip to his performance he had against Yafai. At this stage of his career, probably needs big fights to get up for and he’ll probably get that next time out against Estrada.”
“Some good talent coming up at this weight, so not sure about keeping Cuadras at No. 10. Performance showed he can still mix it up with anyone, but can he defeat anyone in top 10? Argentine Olympian Fernando Martinez scored a good win in South Africa (but that alone is not enough for top 10), but I would bring in Pedro Guevara at No. 10 given all his losses have been close and he is on a good streak. Alexandru Marin also a consideration. Chocolatito looked his usual great self, but not enough to supplant his bogeyman at No. 1 (ha ha).”
“I am all for keeping Cuadras at No. 10 at 115. He earned it after coming back from those couple of bad fights to send a top P4P fighter to the canvas and being super competitive throughout the fight. Guevara and Martinez could take his place soon if they continue on the right track. Very talented fighters (at 115) indeed.”
Flyweight: Julio Cesar Martinez remains at No. 3 after stopping late-sub. Moises Calleros in two rounds.
Said Wainwright: “Not a significant enough opponent to merit a move up but he’s getting close.”
Added Mulcahey: I really enjoy Julio Cesar Martinez, and given the age of Mthalane I can see him moving above the South African legend. However, Mthalane is on such a hot streak I can’t see dropping him just yet. Let’s let nature take its course first with a loss (ha ha).”
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