By Jake Donovan
For the second time this year, Mexico’s Pedro Guevara was forced to deal with the reality of canceled plans for a showdown with Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez.
For the second time this week, the former 108-pound titlist is about to watch another planned bout fall by the wayside.
The 29-year old from Mazatlan, Mexico was reportedly heading for a showdown with countryman Juan Francisco Estrada, who was named as the leading replacement after Gonzalez suffered an injury and was forced to withdraw.
However, BoxingInsider.com has learned that talks of the rematch have never advanced beyond early negotiations and apparently have hit a wall.
“It’s very disappointing,” Oswaldo Küchle, head of Promociones del Pueblo told BoxingInsider.com on Tuesday of his client being left in the dark less than two weeks ahead of fight night.
Guevara is slated to appear on the December 8 edition of HBO’s Boxing After Dark, the telecast’s significance coming in it being the last for the cable giant, whose brass has opted to bow out of the boxing business after more than 45 years of service. His originally scheduled clash with Gonzalez was budgeted to accompany the two best female boxers in the planet, Cecilia Braekhus and Claressa Shields in separate bouts.
Braekhus (34-0, 9KOs)—the unbeaten welterweight from Norway by way of Colombia who along with unbeaten cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk are the only two undisputed (four-belt) champions in the sport today—enters her 24th consecutive defense of at least one welterweight title as she faces Aleksandra Magdziak Lopes (18-4-3, 1KO) in the main event. In supporting action, Shields (7-0, 2KOs)—who captured Olympic Gold for the United States in 2012 and 2016—defends her unified middleweight titles versus Femke Hermans.
The men’s side of show took its first hit when Gonzalez struggled to push through a knee injury suffered during training camp, thus opting to sit out the remainder of 2018. Guevara (32-3-1, 19KOs) was thrilled that he would remain on the show after his team discovered over the weekend that a quick replacement was potentially found in Estrada, a former two-division titlist who was already training for a planned stay-busy bout at home in Mexico.
Loeffler has served as an intermediary between Promociones del Pueblo and Zanfer Promotions head Fernando Beltran—the latter whom represents Estrada—given that the two Mexico promotional powerhouses are longtime rivals who rarely do business together, and time is of the essence in keeping the December 8 show afloat.
It doesn’t seem to matter to the Estrada side, who is now apparently balking at the proposed match.
“Monday we got a call from (Loeffler) stating that Estrada would replace Chocolatito,” Küchle told BoxingInsider.com. “Since then, no answer from anyone. It’s totally disrespectful and unprofessional (of Zanfer Promotions).”
Guevara is doing his best to remain the consummate professional, regardless of who he faces and where it takes place. Once among the best junior flyweights in the world, he’s since moved up in weight after a failed bid to become a two-time titlist in a tightly contested decision loss to the excellent Ken Shiro last October in Japan.
Two wins have followed, although neither have come against his intended target in Gonzalez.
“We had the best training camp of my career and I am ready,” Guevara insists. “I was ready for Chocolatito and I am ready for Estrada. Anytime two Mexicans are in the ring, it’s very exciting, so let’s do this.”
Given the constant change in plans he’s been forced to endure in 2018, it’s easy to see why Guevara is eager for a big fight—or at least concrete plans.
The fallout with Gonzalez was the second time in less than seven months that a pairing between the two hit the scrap heap. Gonzalez—the former pound-for-pound king and four division champ—was forced to bow out of a planned clash in May when a massive visa backlog kept him grounded in his native Nicaragua.
Guevara went on to take a stay-busy fight later than month in his hometown of Mazatlan, along with a 10th round stoppage win over Roberto Sanchez this past September in Ciudad Obregon. Both bouts aired live on Televisa, with whom Guevara is aligned through Promociones del Pueblo.
Estrada and the rest of the Zanfer Promotions stable regularly fight on TV Azteca in Mexico. Rival promoters offering content on rival networks will go a long way in explaining why the two sides don’t conduct much business together. Reliable sources have suggested that local TV rights remains a sticking point in finalizing a Guevara-Estrada clash, although all parties involved have denied such rumors when contacted by Boxinginsider.com.
The hope on Guevara’s side was to use the exposure to come from the December 8 telecast to create demand for a third attempt at getting Gonzalez in the ring.
“He’s (still) a great fighter and we both aspire to once again become a world champion,” notes Guevara. “I very much hope we can still do the fight in 2019.
“For now, I just want the chance to fight on HBO for the first time. It’s an incredible honor and a great opportunity that I won’t take for granted.”
Hopefully, it’s an opportunity he gets to take at all.
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