Boxing Pound-for-Pound Rankings: Juan Francisco Estrada claims spot after avenging ‘Chocolatito’ loss

It was expected to be a classic given the countless wars both fighters had produced in recent years in and around the 115-pound division. Yet what Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez produced last Saturday somehow exceeded expectations. In the end, Estrada (42-3, 28 KOs) came away with a highly-disputed split decision over the resurgent Gonzalez (50-3, 41 KOs) in their unification bout, a rematch of their 2012 thriller which the four-division champion “Chocolatito” won by unanimous decision.

The only disappointing part about Estrada-Gonzalez II, a savage war filled with equal levels of astounding technique and championship-level adjustments, was Carlos Sucre’s rogue scorecard of 117-111 in favor of Estrada which resulted in the judge drawing a suspension from the WBA. 

Regardless of the controversy, it’s very likely the two fighters will meet for a third time down the road. The 30-year-old Estrada, however, must first face off against mandatory opponent Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, who owns a pair of victories over the legendary Gonzalez, in their own trilogy fight. 

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The wide scorecard may have brought some unnecessary attention to a close and exciting fight many felt Gonzalez had done enough to win after outlanding Estrada by a margin of 391 to 314, according to CompuBox. But it shouldn’t change the way Estrada is looked at, especially considering he had nothing to do with the way the fight was scored. 

Estrada, a native of Mexico, was masterful and fought well enough to where a split-decision victory in his favor wouldn’t have produced anywhere near the outrage had the scores simply been closer. 

Over the last nine years, Estrada has lost just twice and both came against great fighters in Gonzalez and Sor Rungvisai, with both defeats now having been avenged. Estrada finally began to get pound-for-pound respect in the aftermath of his 2012 loss to Gonzalez when, unable to secure a rematch, he riled off victories against the likes of Brian Viloria, Giovani Segura, Hernan Marquez and Carlos Cuadras before losing a majority decision to Sor Rungvisai in 2018.  

Estrada deserves the respect of boxing fans and critics, both casual and hardcore alike, for his high-volume style and ability to withstand the hardest shots of some of the sport’s biggest punchers — Gonzalez and Sor Rungvisai included. 

Pound-for-Pound Rankings

Dropped out: Gervonta Davis

Honorable mention: Davis, Artur Beterbiev, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Jermall Charlo, Josh Taylor, Roman Gonzalez, Jermell Charlo

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