Juan Francisco Estrada is ready to step through the ropes to face his old foe Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez for the third time tonight (Saturday) at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona, live on DAZN – and the Mexican ace thinks their fights are so good, that we could even be treated to a fourth installment. Estrada (43-3 28 KOs) goes against the Nicaraguan great with the WBC 115-pound title on the line in a mouth-watering third edition of their rivalry that began over a decade ago.
The Mexican dropped down to 108 pounds to face Chocolatito in his first world title fight in November 2012, and although he lost in Los Angeles on points, the then 22 year-old Estrada’s stock rose following his performance. He won a world title in his next fight in April 2013 against Brian Viloria at flyweight and later claimed super flyweight titles that he successfully defended against Chocolatito in their rematch in Dallas in March 2021.
A third fight is an early Christmas present for all fight fans as both men expect to pick up where they left off in their thrilling Texas battle, and while they will always be in demand for other fights in the lighter weights, Estrada enjoys this friendly combat with his future Hall of Fame foe so much that he would entertain an incredible fourth rumble.
“We’ve had a great training camp and I’m desperate to get in the ring for the trilogy with Román,” said Estrada. “I’m happy and I feel it will be a great fight like the last two.
“He beat me in 2012 and I beat him in the second fight, so you could say this is the decider. There might be a fourth like Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Márquez, who knows? We’ll have our trilogy, and we don’t know whether it will end here or not. We’re going to find out who is the best, who will be leading in fights won and if in the future, God willing, there is a fourth, bring it on.
“The first fight was my first fight in the US, my first fight at Light-Flyweight. I was a Flyweight and had to drop down for this World title shot. It was a great fight.
“To be honest I felt good, but the weight affected me. I didn’t feel strong. But when the fight started, from rounds 1 to 12, we gave it everything. At that time, he was the champion, one of the best pound-for-pound fighters and he got the decision. I was a nobody. We put on a great fight, I felt that I won that fight by a few points, but he got it.
“Given the fight we put on, we got more opportunities. We fought Brian Viloria at Flyweight and you could say it was the fight that made me famous in boxing, it put my name out there.
“When we got to face Chocolatito again, it was at Super-Flyweight. Once again, we gave it everything. It was an extremely tough fight for both of us. Thankfully I was awarded the victory. It was a great fight and now we’re going for that trilogy.
“He’ll be a Hall of Famer. He’s a fighter that has won many titles in four divisions. I respect him as a fighter, and you could say he’s has had a very different career to mine. I’ve also won titles, but I think he’s a great fighter and in the fights we’ve had. I think he’s also realized that I’m not just any other fighter and when we fight now, we’ll decide who is the best.
“I think that friendship outside the ring is good. It’s important because I was invited over to Nicaragua by his team, and we had a great time. We didn’t even go over the previous fight or mention the one that’s coming up. We behaved like colleagues, friends, we stayed together, ate together. It was all very normal.
“When you’re told you’re going to fight Chocolatito, there is a rivalry there but it’s sporting. It’s not like. “I’m going to kill him!” that’s a different way of feeling. You’re more focused on having a good training camp so that you can beat him.
“In the ring I’d say he’s my enemy but once the fight is over, we’ll hug, come out of the ring, talk to each other and we’ll wish each other good health and we’ll be on our way.
“I’ve seen other fighters who’ll come to blows even at the weigh-in or the press conference. I don’t like to do that and neither does Román. We’re different. We display our rivalry in the ring, and I think that’s what people admire and respect about us.
“This fight is important because it’s the trilogy against a fighter who will be in the Hall of Fame. There’s no doubt that this fight is the most important of my career because imagine beating Román González. You wouldn’t be taking anything from him, but I’d be in his position.”