The flyweight division doesn’t normally get the same attention or recognition as the fighters do at welterweight, super middleweight, or the heavily debated super bantamweight. This week on two smaller networks beIN sports espanol and A.W.E., four flyweights will battle for future paydays, pride, legacy, and unification supremacy.
Both fights feature similar stylistic matchmaking, the traditional puncher versus boxer match-up. In this case the boxer-types being Estrada and Yaegashi, have plenty of power and will engage in a brawl when the rubber hits the road.
The last few years Roman Gonzalez has been knocking on the door of elite status. This weekend presents a chance to kick that door in. Hardcore followers in the Western Hemisphere rave about “Chocolatito’s” aggression and knockout power, having stopped 33 opponents to go along with his 39 wins.
Roman Gonzalez was on the outside looking in on the pound for pound list because of a lackluster resume. After a somewhat softer run at 108, Gonzalez earned a signature win against Juan Francisco Estrada in a highly entertaining and competitive bout.
Akira Yaegashi came up the hard way challenging for his first title shot in only seven fights. He was able to overcome two early losses, learn from it and grow. He stumbled again losing a close decision to Kazuto Ioka. His win over Edgar Sosa shot him upwards to the top tier at flyweight.
Yaegashi will need to keep his distance and stick his jab in order to keep Roman at bay. If Akira gets in trouble he’s a crafty fighter who knows how to clinch and can switch from orthodox to southpaw. Movement will no doubt be important as long as he doesn’t waste too much energy moving away. He will have to use his left hook to counter and stand his ground throughout the fight.
Of course, Gonzalez will be the aggressor in an attempt to close the gap and attack Akira with short hooks and uppercuts. Gonzalez needs to be more consistent with his jab to go along with all the power punches and constant activity. If not, he could get countered all night, forcing him to chase and follow instead of cutting of the ring.
Juan Francisco Estrada vs. Giovani Segura will certainly blow the roof off the Arena in Mexico City and is my pick for fight of the night, or weekend. Two Mexican warriors will meet in the ring with plenty at stake.
After his conquering of Ivan Calderon, Giovani Segura looked to be fading a bit or at least figured out, having lost two major fights in a row to Brian Viloria and Edgar Sosa. Giovani managed to beat prospect Jonathan Gonzalez setting up a match with Hernan Marquez, which turned out to be great war between the two that ended in a 12 round knockout by Segura.
In 2012, Juan Francisco Estrada proved his worth when he took on and almost beat Roman Gonzalez. He went toe to toe and managed to be busy on the outside throwing a lot of combination punches.
If fans thought that performance versus Gonzalez was a fluke they were mistaken. Not one to hold his head low, Estrada stripped Brian Viloria of his titles, following that up with a solid points win over previously unbeaten Milan Milando.
Like he did in his war with Chocolatito, Juan will have to mix up his punches and style to keep a raging Segura off of him. His activity on the outside and attention to detail in the pocket will be crucial. Just like the previously mentioned unification bout, this fight could end or change dramatically with one punch because of the punching power and tenacity of Giovani.
Segura and his team have been raving about their conditioning from a grueling training camp in Big Bear, California. That alone could provide enough confidence and ammunition to give Estrada one hell of a fight.
Segura usually prefers to rush, crowd, and smother his opponents. The talk out of his camp is a new Segura has been developed, one that cares more about getting hit than he had in the past. Normally that kind of statement or new game plan goes one of two ways.
Either the fighter remains aggressive with just a pinch of defense or use of a jab which improves his style. Or the fighter gets stuck somewhere in between resulting in a more hesitant or reluctant offensive attack.
Both fighters have stayed relatively active in recent times so they’re won’t be any rust to wear off. This war will be fought on all areas of the (ring) battlefield. Segura will have success coming forward and Estrada should be able to land clean from range and the inside.
The real beauty of this talented division is how the fighters, promoters, and smaller networks worked together just like how things used to be. If a fighter gets beat nowadays they better hope it was a fight of the year candidate, or has a track record of entertaining brawls. Fans jump off a fighter much quicker and either overrate or undervalue way too early in the process of a fighter’s development.
These flyweight wars have been giving new fans a perfect example of the triangle theory. Fans on social media and forums are so quick to assume fighter A beats fighter B, because he couldn’t beat fighter C (and so on).
Brian Viloria has wins over Hernan Marquez and Giovani Segura but, was beaten by Juan Francisco Estrada, who lost a close contest to Roman Gonzalez. Edgar Sosa beats Segura than turns around and gets knocked off by Yaegashi. Segura versus Marquez could have been fight of the year in 2013.
In the end the fans win, and from the looks of it with such a deep stable of fighters, flyweight is a matchmakers dream or nightmare depending on how you look at it.
My official prediction is Roman Gonzalez by Split Decision on the road in Tokyo, and Juan Francisco Estrada by Unanimous Decision.
Chris Carlson is the owner and host of Rope A Dope Radio. Listen to Chris’ show at: www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio
Follow Chris on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio