When Carlos Cuadras tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week, it seemed his Friday night rematch with Juan Francisco Estrada was about to go up in smoke. Instead, Cuadras was able to turn in a negative follow-up test and the bout was saved, as were hopes of a super flyweight unification rematch between Estrada and Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez.
Cuadras (39-3-1, 27 KO) will battle Estrada (40-3, 27 KO) for the WBC super flyweight championship in the main event from Gymnasio TV Azteca in Mexico City (7 p.m. ET, DAZN). Chocolatito (49-2, 41 KO) will also be in action, putting his WBA version of the 115-pound world title on the line against Israel Gonzalez (25-3, 11KO). The goal of the show for Matchroom Boxing seems to be to get to that unification bout between Estrada and Gonzalez. The two previously met in 2012, with Gonzalez taking a wide decision victory.
Cuadras is more than a mere stepping stone to a bigger fight, however. In September 2017, Cuadras battled Estrada in a highly-competitive bout. Estrada took the fight on the judges' scorecards, winning 114-113 on all three scorecards. A knockdown by Estrada in Round 10 was the deciding factor in that fight, buti it showed that Cuadras can hang with Estrada. An upset win by Cuadras could also result in a rematch, as he has his own loss to Gonzalez in a bloody fight in 2016.
Estrada defeated Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in April 2019, a victory that established him as the top 115-pound fighter in the world and landed him the WBC world title. After one successful defense, he was linked up with Cuadras, who has struggled a bit since that first meeting with Estrada, including a stint in rehab after refusing a drug test following a loss to McWilliams Arroyo in 2018.
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Chocolatito had staked a claim to a spot as arguably the pound-for-pound best fighter in the sport when he ran into Rungvisai, who handed Chocolatito the first two losses of his career. After a few rebound wins, he proved he still had plenty to give in the ring by thrashing Khalid Yafai for a ninth-round TKO win to capture the WBA title.
In Israel Gonzalez, Chocolatito faces a fighter who has lost his two prior shots at world championships. Gonzalez lost a shot at the IBF super flyweight title against Jerwin Ancajas in February 2018 and then lost to Yafai in a shot at the WBA title in November of that year.
In the opening bout of the card, Julio Cesar Martinez (16-1, 12 KO) will put his WBC flyweight title on the line against Moises Calleros (33-9-1, 17 KO). Calleros is stepping in for Maximino Flores after Flores tested positive for COVID-19, taking down a bout that looked like a thriller on paper. Martinez has established himself as a must-watch talent, impressing with every outing over recent years before thrashing Cristofer Rosales to win the vacant WBC flyweight title.
Estrada vs. Cuadras 2 card, odds
Juan Francisco Estrada (c) -575
Carlos Cuadras +425
WBC super flyweight title
Chocolatito Gonzalez (c) -2000
Israel Gonzalez +1000
WBA super flyweight title
Julio Cesar Martinez (c) -2200
Moises Calleros +1100
WBC flyweight title
Estrada should not be looking past Cuadras, and likely won't be after their first fight was so close. That said, the two men have gone in different directions since that first meeting. Cuadras had the stint in rehab and then pieced together some middling wins after returning to the ring. Meanwhile, Estrada has proved himself an elite fighter in the division and is likely one win away from getting the rematch he has wanted for nearly a decade. Expect Cuadras to give everything he has and present the best version he has left of himself, but it likely will not be enough against a man who is now simply a better fighter. Pick: Estrada via UD