A critical look at the past week in boxing
Juan Francisco Estrada – Take a minute a think about what the Mexican star has accomplished. Roman Gonzalez is considered one of the best lighter weight fighters of all time and Estrada beat him in two out of three meetings. OK, the second fight was a disputed decision. And Estrada’s majority-decision victory on Saturday also was tight. The fact is Estrada (44-3, 28 KOs) has fought “Chocolatito” on at least even terms two times after losing their first fight when he was relatively inexperienced. Gonzalez deserves all the accolades he receives. So does Estrada, a special all-around fighter and future Hall of Famer. He demonstrated that once again on Saturday, surging to an early lead and then holding off a fierce rally from his rival to have his hand raised once again. Only a great fighter could’ve weathered that storm and emerged victorious.
BIGGEST WINNER II
Tyson Fury – Forget Fury’s 10th-round stoppage of pathetically overmatched Derek Chisora in their third fight Saturday in London. That was a combination workout and showcase for the WBC heavyweight titleholder, who drew 60,000 to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. And, oh yeah, he walked away with another eight-figure payday. That makes him a winner right there. However, it gets better. The fight Fury (33-0-1, 24 KOs) and every boxing fan on the planet wants is now on the horizon. It became obvious at the moment that Fury and Oleksandr Usyk stood nose-to-nose on the ring apron after the fight Saturday that they intend to meet next year for the undisputed championship. I don’t see how Usyk, a former cruiserweight, can beat a huge man with Fury’s ability but everyone will be a winner if they can make the ultimate heavyweight fight happen.
Roman Gonzalez – Imagine fighting as well as “Chocolatito” did in two fights with his arch rival and coming up short both times. That’s his reality. Most observers thought he deserved the nod in their second fight, in March of last year. And the judge who scored Saturday’s fight a draw might’ve had the best tally. That’s why the two setbacks will be hard for Gonzalez (51-4, 41 KOs) to swallow. Of course, he must blame the guy in the mirror for the most recent result. He lost the first five rounds on two scorecards and four on the third, meaning he didn’t start fighting in earnest until Round 6. A fighter can’t give away that many rounds and expect to get the nod. He might’ve been preserving energy for a late rush because of his age, 35. That would make sense. Nevertheless, no one can complain about losing a close decision under those circumstances.
Derek Chisora – The veteran contender was fortunate in more than one way. One, he should be grateful that he was given the opportunity to take home a seven-figure payday. Fury selected him as his opponent in part because he knew the popular Chisora (33-13, 23 KOs) would sell tickets and generate pay-per-view revenue. He didn’t earn the chance, though. He was 1-3 in his previous four fights. And, two, he was fortunate that he walked out of the ring under his own power. He took the kind of prolonged beating that sometimes results in tragedies. Chisora acknowledged that he had entered the danger zone when he thanked the ref for stopping the fight afterward. How often does that happen? Chisora, 38, has had a long, productive career. It couldn’t be more clear that it’s time for him to move on to the next phase of his life.
Estrada-Gonzalez scoring – The 115-113 (Dennis O’Connell) and 114-114 (Chris Tellez) cards seem to reflect what happened in the ring in what turned out to be a close fight. 116-112 (Tim Cheatham)? That score is debatable. Cheatham gave Estrada four of the first five rounds and the 12th, which was acceptable. However, he also gave the winner three of the six rounds that Gonzalez dominated (6-11) to make it eight rounds to four for Estrada, which doesn’t make as much sense. Cheatham probably didn’t have his best night as a judge. However, the bottom line is that there is no great controversy. I scored it 115-113 for Estrada. So, in my opinion, the right man had his hand raised.
FASTEST TURN AROUND
Daniel Dubois – The young contender’s future as a relevant heavyweight seemed to be in the balance when he went down three times in the first round against Kevin Lerena on the Fury-Chisora card. Two rounds later he had his hand raised after putting Lerena down twice and then stopping him. The opening round was bizarre. Lerena (28-2, 14 KOs) put Dubois (19-1, 18 KOs) down and hurt him with a punch to the top of the head. Dubois was able to get up and continue. However, evidently still shaky, he intentionally went down two more times in an effort to fully recover. It appeared he might be finished as a rising star at that moment, particularly after his knockout loss to Joe Joyce 2020. Well, Dubois had other ideas. He did recover and then stormed back, overwhelming the former cruiserweight to turn defeat into a satisfying victory at the end of Round 3. I wonder about Dubois’ punch resistence but his determination can’t be questioned.
Samuel Carmona – The 2016 Olympian from Spain boxed well for a few rounds against flyweight titleholder Julio Cesar Martinez on the Estrada-Gonzalez card, demonstrating his skill set and athleticism. Then he injured his right hand, at which point a fight became a track meet. Carmona must’ve run a marathon in the ring to protect the hand. He threw lefts here and there but almost no rights. His trainer implored him to get busier if he hoped to win his first title shot but the advice fell on deaf ears, at least until he stood his ground a bit more in final few rounds. Carmona (8-1, 4 KOs) lost a majority decision. Could he have won? Possibly. Jabbing incessantly, moving and just touching Martinez (19-2, 14 KOs) with his right hand occasionally might’ve done the trick. Instead, he did next to nothing for most of the fight and it cost him.