Talks have once again surfaced of a highly anticipated rubber match between Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez.
For the moment, it remains limited to just talk—and with several hurdles in the way of becoming a reality.
BoxingScene.com has learned that such a fight is being explored to possibly take place later this fall, as recently suggested by well-respected Nicaraguan journalist Levi Luna. The rumors have surfaced as Estrada—the reigning lineal/WBA junior bantamweight champion—remains tied to a title consolidation clash with secondary WBA titlist Joshua Franco (18-1-2, 8KOs), with the fight awaiting a summertime date should it move forward.
The working theory in moving forward with the more desirable trilogy clash versus Nicaragua’s Gonzalez (51-3, 41KOs) is that Estrada (42-3, 28KOs) would vacate his WBA “Super” title. The third fight with Gonzalez would then take place with Estrada’s lineal and WBC “Franchise” title at stake.
The issue, for now, is that Franco is expecting to next face Estrada, as per the terms of the recent purse bid hearing won by Golden Boy Promotions. The fight was secured with the WBA-mandated minimum amount of $200,000, which was to be split 55-45 in favor of Estrada. BoxingScene.com has learned that arrangements will be made—or at least discussed—for both sides to make considerably more than $110,000 and $90,000, respectively, for Estrada to move forward with the fight.
Efforts to contact representatives for all parties involved went unreturned as this goes to publish. A recent conversation with Golden Boy Promotions founder/chairman Oscar De La Hoya indicated that a date was still not set for Estrada-Franco, despite rumors of the bout possibly landing on a July 16 show to be headlined by unbeaten lightweight titlist Ryan Garcia (22-0, 18KOs).
Estrada and Gonzalez have already twice seen their rubber match cancelled due to separate Covid-related issues. Gonzalez tested positive for the infectious disease last September, forcing a cancellation of their planned October 16 clash in Fresno, California. The anticipated championship was then rescheduled for March 5 in San Diego, only for Estrada to shut down training camp in mid-January after testing positive for Covid.
Gonzalez—who has won titles at strawweight, junior flyweight, flyweight and junior bantamweight (twice)—went on to face WBC flyweight titlist Julio Cesar Martinez (18-2, 14KOs; 2NC), who moved up in weight in accepting the fight on roughly five weeks’ notice. Gonzalez delivered one of his finest performances in the twilight of his legendary career, hopeful of the fight with Estrada making its way back to the table.