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.
| 1. Canelo Alvarez||55-1-2, 37 KOs||Middleweight, super middleweight (unified) champion||--|
|If switching weight divisions with ease -- including winning a 175-pound title in 2019 -- wasn't convincing enough regarding Alvarez's greatness, his activity level and willingness to face anyone should settle all debates. Alvarez will fight for the third time in six months when he looks to unify super middleweight titles against Billy Joes Saunders in May.|
|2. Naoya Inoue|| 19-0, 17 KOs|| Unified bantamweight champion||--|
|The Japanese "Monster" didn't disappoint in his Oct. 31 closeup in Las Vegas as he now operates under the Top Rank and ESPN banners. A brilliant knockout of Jason Moloney showcased Inoue's complete game as he went on to call out the other two belt-holders at 118 pounds. |
|3. Errol Spence Jr.||27-0, 21 KOs||Unified welterweight champion||--|
|Spence returned from a 14-month layoff and answered plenty of questions about his future following a scary car accident while decisively outpointing Danny Garcia in December. Spence, who wants a super fight with Manny Pacquiao, looked arguably even better than he had before the crash. |
|4. Terence Crawford||36-0, 26 KOs||Welterweight champion||--|
|Crawford defended his WBO title with ease by stopping former 147-pound champion Kell Brook in November. Out of viable opponents given boxing's political and network divide, "Bud" has publicly feuded with promoter Top Rank and is expected to seek free agency this fall in search of a long-awaited showdown against Errol Spence Jr.|
|5. Vasiliy Lomachenko|| 14-2, 10 KOs|| Lightweight ||--|
|The former P4P king suffered his first convincing defeat as a professional despite rallying late against Teofimo Lopez Jr. Lomachenko might be better suited returning to 130 pounds where his lack of size and power won't appear so prominent against the very elite. |
|6. Manny Pacquiao||62-7-2, 39 KOs||Welterweight champion||--|
|Idle since his impressive 2019 pay-per-view win over Keith Thurman, Pacquiao is hanging on to this spot by a thread at age 42. The Filipino icon's WBA title was downgraded to "champion in recess" due to inactivity, although he's expected to return in 2021, possibly against Mikey Garcia.|
|7. Tyson Fury||30-0-1, 21 KOs||Heavyweight champion||--|
|The WBC and lineal champion appears on the verge of securing a two-fight deal against unified champion Anthony Joshua, which could be the biggest series of fights the sport has seen in years. It could also produce boxing's first four-belt undisputed champion at heavyweight. |
|8. Teofimo Lopez Jr.||15-0, 12 KOs||Undisputed lightweight champion||--|
|At 23, Lopez appears poised for superstardom following his upset win over Vasiliy Lomachenko in 2020. He recently bet on himself during a purse dispute with promoter Top Rank, and saw his mandatory title defense against George Kambosos Jr. go to purse bid with Lopez expected to earn close to $4 million following upstart Triller's massive winning bid. |
|9. Oleksandr Usyk|| 18-0, 18 KOs ||Heavyweight||--|
|The former undisputed cruiserweight champion proved his worth in his new weight class by outpointing a rugged Dereck Chisora. Owed a mandatory shot at Anthony Joshua's WBO title, Usyk's step-aside prize could be an interim title shot against unbeaten Joe Joyce.|
|10. Juan Francisco Estrada||42-3, 28 KOs||Unified super flyweight champion|
|Although the rogue scorecard turned in which helped lift Estrada past former P4P king Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez in their March rematch remains rightfully under question, Estrada fought well enough to have a claim at having won. Up next is a trilogy bout against mandatory opponent Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. |
Dropped out: Gervonta Davis
Honorable mention: Davis, Artur Beterbiev, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Jermall Charlo, Josh Taylor, Roman Gonzalez, Jermell Charlo