The flyweight division’s stellar run of late has been marked by its parity, but after this weekend there are now two clear top 112 pounders: Newly-crowned king Roman Gonzalez, who on Friday stopped Akira Yaegashi, and Juan Francisco Estrada, who on Saturday halted Giovani Segura.
Estrada-Segura started sloppily enough, which you might have thought could benefit the sloppy Segura. Instead, the more fundamentally sound Estrada embraced the chaos, and when Segura caught him with a wild left in the 2nd, Estrada started trading power shots and getting the better of it in the 3rd.
What was impressive about this performance by Estrada wasn’t just the boxing, it wasn’t just the nuclear offense, it was that he stood up to Segura’s power and trumped it. After the 3rd, most of the competitiveness was sapped. As early as the 2nd, Estrada damaged Segura’s face such that he looked to have a broken cheekbone. The body punching didn’t help Segura’s chances, either. Segura came out in the 8th and actually made a difference with, of all things, his jab. It was a temporary reprieve.
By the 11th he was in survival mode, only throwing enough to keep Estrada at a distance, and even that didn’t work. Estrada raked him across the ropes, threw a series of blows and the referee stopped the fight as Segura covered up to avoid punishment.
You can make a case that Estrada belongs in the pound-for-pound top 10. He’s beaten some quality contenders now, and his showing against Gonzalez in a loss has elevated both men. A rematch between Estrada and Gonzalez already was one of boxing’s best fights. After this weekend, it’s even juicier. Whatever god(s) you worship, pray to ’em we get part II.