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Akira Yaegashi is the best fighter Roman Gonzalez has faced in awhile, since probably Juan Francisco Estrada in November 2012. But I'm not convinced Yaegashi is a world-beater. There is a lot of fortuitous coincidence involved in the Japanese star ending up with a world title.
Yaegashi won the belt from Toshiyuki Igarashi who took it via split decision from Sonny Boy Jaro, a journeyman who happened to catch longtime champion Pongsaklek Wonjongkam at an ideal time in his descent.
Yaegashi turned in a nice performance last year against veteran Edgar Sosa. But Gonzalez is a clear cut above Sosa. At this point, he's earned his status as a legitimate pound-for-pound superstar.
Fights can be very hard to predict in the lowest weight classes, where coverage is often scant. This is Gonzalez's frst major fight at 112 pounds, but Yaegashi is a former 105-pounder himself.
Gonzalez is moving up in weight and has an extremely long flight in front of him before he even climbs into the room. So I am hesitant to predict a knockout, even though Gonzalez has a history as a knockout machine.
Still, I think he'll win by wide margins to capture a world title in his third division. He might even stop Yaegashi late.
The day after Gonzalez fights Yaegashi, WBA and WBO flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada defends his belts in Mexico City against former world champion Giovani Segura. A winner vs. winner bout following this weekend would unify three of the major belts at flyweight.
It just might bring some much-deserved attention to the 112-pound division.