As a boxing blogger and part time writer it is rare that I get to watch the sport purely as a fan anymore. I chose to watch the fight that most felt would be the fight of the year from a pure fan stand point but could not help myself when it came to remaining silent. The fight was an exciting back and forth battle that many are already hailing as the front runner for fight of the year and the scoring has already become a serious point of controversy, Ultimately, Juan Francisco Estrada emerged victorious in a great rematch eight years in the making but many have been grumbling about the decision and are demanding we see a rematch in eight months not the eight years it took for an initial rematch between the two. While two of the judges had the contest scored 115-113 each way, Carlos Sucre had the fight scored a wide 117-111 which drew serious criticism from boxing fans and those inside the industry. Sucre has since been suspended by the WBA and is facing evaluation for his wide scorecard. I decided to score the bout myself and draw my own conclusions regarding the decision and the fight as a whole.
|Bout: Unified Bantamweight Title||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||10||11||12||Final|
I will conclude that I do not feel that this fight was the robbery that fans and pundits have listed it as. 117-111 was inappropriately wide and gives off the feeling that the decision was not on the level but the other scores turned in reflect the closely contested fight we saw Saturday night. I don’t hold up Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated and the DAZN team as a very good scorer of boxing matches like I would Harold Lederman but he did score it around the same score as me. However, he had Gonzalez solidly ahead after 5 rounds with a 49-46 Gonzalez card that differs greatly from my scoring. I felt early on that Estrada scored the meaningful punches and landed more frequently at the end of his punches thus achieving noticeable snap. Gonzalez landed inside but I felt he did not jar Estrada’s head thus making the shots appear less impactful therefore less effective. As the fight went on I felt that Gonzalez became the more effective puncher with his shorter and more compact blows. Though Estrada tried to box effectively from the outside, Gonzalez began to catch more of his work in his gloves and scored effectively with both hands. Estrada’s accuracy began to wane down the stretch and I thought Gonzalez swept the final third of the fight, solidifying a victory for him on my card. I feel my card was a little beneficial to Estrada early on but am still hesitant to declare this fight a robbery despite my scorecard. A rematch seems likely despite the great Thai fighter Rungvisai holding mandatory status to face Estrada.
On the undercard Jessica McCaskill of Chicago, Illinois won a wide unanimous decision over Cecilia Braekhus to retain her undisputed welterweight championship. DAZN’s commentary team tried to force a narrative that this fight was close when the wide scores in favor of McCaskill were read at 100-89, 99-90 and 98-91. I did not think this contest was close at all despite Chris Mannix’s declarations. McCaskill won the first five rounds clearly and possibly the initial seven. Braekhus started to box on her toes in round six but lost the seventh with a point deduction for excessive holding. The fight was arguably 6-1 with a 10-8 round or 7-0 with a 10-8 round heading into the eighth and the DAZN team was pretending this was a close fight, up in the air heading into the tenth. McCaskill won this fight going away in what was a very exciting woman’s main event. Women’s boxing has seen a renaissance these past few years with Katie Taylor’s two great fights with Delfine Persoon, McCaskill upsetting and winning the rematch vs Braekhus, Terri Harper winning a war against Natasha Jonas and Claressa Shields gaining undisputed status at two different weight divisions and looking for greatness in future fights.