By David Robinett at ringside
Photos: Sumio Yamada
In one of those only-in-boxing moments, former WBA and WBO flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada (36-2, 25 KOs) earned a narrow twelve-round unanimous decision over former WBC super flyweight champion Carlos Cuadras (36-2-1, 27 KOs) after ringside announcer Michael Buffer mistakenly announced the decision for Cuadras, setting off a chorus of boos and confusion in the ring for nearly a minute before announcing the correct result for Estrada.
All three judges at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, scored the bout 114-113 in favor of Estrada, who also earned the right to next face the winner of tonight’s main event between Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and “Chocolatito” Gonzalez for the WBC super flyweight title.
Cuadras was at his best in the first half of the fight, looking to press the action early with combinations to the body while Estrada was content to wait patiently for openings to counter. They traded big punches in round three, with Cuadras seeming to get the better of it with his heavy left hand. Estrada picked up the pace in round four, starting to come forward and forcing Cuadras to fight backing up, stemming Cuadras’ momentum from the previous round. The leather really flew in round six, with Estrada landing the two best punches of the round, a right uppercut and straight right hand a few seconds apart. Estrada began pull away in the second half of the fight, landing several big shots on the fading Cuadras. Cuadras seemed to get a second wind in round nine, snapping Estrada’s head with a right uppercut and outworking his rival, but Estrada reasserted control in round ten with a left hook, straight right hand that dropped Cuadras midway through the round. Although Cuadras got up fighting, Estrada was simply the better fighter down the stretch, notwithstanding the drama of the post-fight announcing snafu.
Estrada stated, “His quickness and fast hands surprised me early but once I figured him out I was winning. I won the last 7 rounds. I’m glad they got the scores correct and I didn’t get robbed.”
Cuadras commented, “I won the fight, I landed the harder punches, no way he beat me. The knockdown was a slip, I was never hurt. I want an immediate rematch.”