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Avila Perspective, Chap. 127: Battle of the Little Giants in ‘Big D’ and More

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  • Avila Perspective, Chap. 127: Battle of the Little Giants in ‘Big D’ and More

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    By David A. Avila

    It took nearly a decade for Nicaragua’s Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez and Mexico’s Juan Francisco Estrada to meet in the prize ring again, but here they are.

    The last time we saw Gonzalez and Estrada meet in the boxing ring was at the old Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in 2012. That arena was later torn down and replaced by a soccer stadium.

    Time flies.

    WBA super fly titlist Gonzalez (50-2, 41 KOs) and WBC titlist Estrada (41-3, 28 KOs) finally meet again when they collide on Saturday March 13, at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. DAZN will stream the Matchroom Boxing card.

    The first time these little giants clashed “Chocolatito” was a light flyweight, unbeaten and considered the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world by some. Estrada was a relatively unknown Mexican fighter with big dreams. Another Mexican fighter named Hernan “Tyson” Marquez got all the ink but was trounced by Brian Viloria that same night.

    Estrada surprised fans that rainy evening with the ability to match wits and exchanges with the powerful Gonzalez. Just seven months earlier fans in Southern California got their first glimpse of the Nicaraguan mini-strongman when he destroyed another Mexican fighter at the Pomona Fairgrounds. Most expected the same to happen to Estrada.

    Instead, Estrada forced Gonzalez to engage in a contest of skill and strategy for 12 mesmerizing rounds at the dank old Sports Arena. The crowd mixed of Nicaraguan and Mexican fans roared back and forth whenever their chosen hero showed signs of gaining advantage.

    Neither fighter was ever hurt, but Estrada had proven surprisingly equal in skill. When the scores were read in favor of Gonzalez 118-110, 116-112 twice, many fans were angered and demanded they fight again quickly. But it took more than eight years to happen.

    A lot has changed since November 2012. Gonzalez lost twice to Thailand’s Srisaket Sor Rungvisai including a scary knockout loss in 2017. Estrada lost a razor close decision to the same Thai fighter but then won the rematch just as closely.

    Though almost a decade has passed, these two little warriors remain entwined in boxing history, especially Los Angeles boxing annals. Sadly, this fight takes place in Texas, not California, but it doesn’t diminish the expectations.

    “I consider myself a man who’s done the best that I could. I had difficult times growing up but, in the end, it worked out well. Life has taught me a lot of things, and I learned,” said Gonzalez who trained in Southern California. “And I feel and think that I’ve already conquered many things in boxing. What comes now with this title is just extra.”

    On the same card two other world title fights take place with Japan’s Hiroto Kyoguchi (14-0, 8 KOs) defending the WBA light flyweight title against Mexico’s Axel “Mini” Aragon (14-3-1). And a clash between women for the undisputed welterweight title as Jessica McCaskill (9-2) defends against Cecilia Braekhus (36-1) in a rematch. All will be streamed on DAZN.

    Super Middles in Connecticut

    Undefeated super middleweight David Benavidez (23-0, 20 KOs) has a tough customer in Ronald Ellis (18-1-2, 12 KOs) when they battle on Saturday March 13, at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn. Showtime will televise.

    Benavidez was stripped of the WBC super middleweight title a second time for failing to make weight. He was three pounds over the weight limit of 168. Lately, he’s called for other super middleweight titlists Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Caleb Plant to meet him in the boxing ring. First, he must pass through Ellis.

    Ellis hails from a talented family of boxers and none of them are pushovers. Though they do not have the blue ribbon recognition of the Dirrell family, they are equally as good. Even the women in the Ellis family are very good. Rashida Ellis is a top amateur female competing for a place in the next Olympics.

    These past 12 months have seen many undefeated fighters wrecked by opposition. Just last week Serhii Bohachuk was knocked out by Brandon Adams. Another undefeated super welterweight saw Charles Conwell wreck Madiyar Ashkeyev’s spotless record. Both were undefeated when they met in Los Angeles on the Ring City USA card.

    Benavidez needs to be wary.


    Super lightweight prospect Brandun Lee (21-0, 19 KOs) meets Samuel Teah (17-3-1, 7 KOs) in the main event on Wednesday, March 10, at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. Showtime will televise the fight card.

    Lee, 21, fights out of La Quinta, California a desert resort area near Palm Springs. So far, the 140-pounder shows all the tools needed to proceed in a very talented division. Though he shows, speed, agility and power, it always comes down to the chin. Will Lee be tested by Teah?

    One former super lightweight champion that I consider among the greats in that weight class is Tim “Desert Storm” Bradley. Ironically, Bradley also lives in the same area as Lee and is familiar with his talent. He considers Lee a real prospect capable of competing for a world title.

    Bradley always had good barometer in judging young talent. He prophesized correctly that Terence Crawford would be a name to remember when few knew anything about the Nebraska fighter.

    Fights to Watch

    Wed. Showtime 6 p.m. Brandun Lee (21-0) vs Samuel Teah (17-3-1).

    Fri. Telemundo 12 a.m. Dennis Contreras (23-10-1) vs Hairon Socarras (23-1-3).

    Sat. DAZN 5 p.m. Roman Gonzalez (50-2) vs Juan Francisco Estrada (41-3); Jessica McCaskill (9-2) vs Cecilia Braekhus (36-1).

    Sat. Showtime 6 p.m. David Benavidez (23-0) vs Ronald Ellis (18-1-2).

    Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel