Young Juan Francisco Estrada (22-2, 18 KO) will make his second attempt at capturing a world title on Saturday at Cotai Arena, in Macao S.A.R., China. The 22-year-old will battle WBA super flyweight and WBO flyweight champion Brian Viloria (32-3, 19 KO).
Estrada dropped a 12-round decision against WBA light flyweight champion Roman "Chocalito" Gonzalez in November 2012. Now he is moving up in weight to challenge for both of Viloria's titles.
Viloria TKO'd Hernan Marquez in a thrilling bout that took place on the same card as Estrada's loss to Gonzalez. He dropped Marquez three times before the fight was stopped in the 10th round.
This is a battle of solid punchers, so there is a good bet we'll see some fireworks. Here's how you can catch the show.
When: Saturday, April 6, at 2 p.m. ET
Where: Cotai Arena, Macao S.A.R., China
The Book on Viloria
It's hard to believe Viloria is 32 years old, but the man they call Hawaiian Punch has been fighting for 12 years, even though he still doesn't look a day over 21.
Don't let the boyish looks fool you—Viloria is a warrior and he proved that against Marquez. I underestimated him in that bout, believing Marquez's aggression and heart would win him a tough bout, but Viloria was beastly in that fight.
Despite being badly hurt in the fifth round, he rebounded seconds later to floor Marquez in one of the most underrated rounds fought in 2012.
Viloria has a tendency to stand and whack flat-footed for too long, but he has the chin and power to play that game.
Once he takes the opponent's best shots, he's still dangerous. This is something he doesn't get enough credit for, and it is one of his best qualities.
The Book on Estrada
Too Much, Too Soon?
At just 22 years old, Estrada will have faced two of the best fighters in his weight region within a five-month span. The question I have is this: Is that too much too soon?
He is a powerful puncher, which is evident when you look at his impressive 18 KO wins in just 24 fights. But against Gonzalez, he looked overwhelmed by Chocalito's pressure and the ring generalship was clearly in the champion's favor.
Just five months later, has he improved enough to battle Viloria?
That's the biggest question at hand here. His management and training team must be wary of ruining a talented young fighter by putting him in with elite fighters too early in his career.
Keys to Victory
Viloria must exhibit the same patience he generally employs in his fights. He never seems hurried or overly excited, yet he rips hard, accurate shots to the head and body from close quarters.
However, he is fighting a man 10 years his junior that possesses speed and notable power—especially since Viloria has never been especially difficult to find with punches.
Though he withstood hard punches from Marquez in his previous bout, this may not be the man he wants to test his chin against.
Stamina will be a huge deal for Estrada.
He is moving up in weight, and this will only be his second fight scheduled for 12 rounds. This will be Viloria's 19th such fight, so the experience will certainly factor in.
Estrada must be smart with his punches to prevent from gassing himself like Marquez did. When and if he tires, Viloria will pounce on him.
Viloria is too tough and experienced. The stalking, hard-punching style Gonzalez used to befuddle Estrada early on in their fight is a style Viloria can easily employ.
I predict an eighth-round TKO win for Viloria.
Follow me, because I love boxing and you do too.