By: Hans Themistode
Roman Gonzalez believed he was ready to officially put an end to his perpetual rivalry with Juan Francisco Estrada. With the two splitting a pair of highly competitive bouts, tonight was supposed to be the third, and presumably final time, they share the ring with one another.
However, due to Estrada experiencing COVID-19 like symptoms, he was forced to withdraw from their contest. Despite the fairly short notice, Julio Cesar Martinez brazenly moved up in weight to challenge the future first ballot Hall of Famer. Although it was calculated, Martinez’s move ultimately didn’t pay off.
Martinez was both dissected and controlled for most of their 12 round fight tonight, which took place at the Pechanga Arena, in San Diego, California.
Gonzalez came out bobbing and weaving as he made his way to the center of the ring in the opening round and ripped off several shots within the first few seconds. A fully psyched-up Martinez evaded most of those harmful incoming blows and landed a crisp and sustained attack to the body of his man.
Seemingly unaffected by his much smaller opponent, Gonzalez easily brushed him off while upping his efforts upstairs. From that moment on, Gonzalez’s efforts were without mercy. He punished Martinez throughout much of the first half of their contest. In the process, his gas tank proved to be otherworldly.
With Gonzales gaining the upper hand in most of the exchanges, Martinez bit down on his mouthpiece during the second half of their contest and fought fire with fire. A fairly jam-packed San Diego crowd roared in approval as both men stood toe to toe during the sixth.
Even with Martinez gaining his second wind, the pressure of Gonzalez was relentless. In the eighth, in particular, it appeared as though he was on the verge of closing the show.
Gonzalez scored numerous unanswered blows during the period, as a dejected Martinez fought to stay alive. To his credit, he blasted Gonzalez with a three-punch combination upstairs before focusing his attack on the body. Throughout it all, Gonzalez was never fazed by what was coming in his direction and continually marched forward, regardless of what was hurled his way.
Gonzalez’s workman-like efforts were ultimately rewarded at the end of the final bell. Judge Max DeLuca may have given Gonzalez the nod by a mark of 116-112, but his scorecards showed a far more competitive bout than what his fellow two judges witnessed. Judge Mike Ross, as well as Zachary Young, gave Gonzalez a much wider decision, handing in scorecards of 117-110 and 118-110 respectively.
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