By Dan Ambrose: Juan Francisco Estrada (43-3, 28 KOs) had a much tougher time than he bargained for on Saturday night in successfully defending his WBA Franchise super flyweight title against the younger, stronger, and faster Argi Cortes (23-3-2, 10 KOs), winning by a 12 round unanimous decision at the Centro de Usos Multiples in Hermosillo, Mexico.
The judges’ scores were 115-112, 115-112, and 114-113. Two of those scores were much too wide for the fight that took place tonight, but you have to figure that Estrada would get extra rounds because he was fighting at home. We saw him win a terribly controversial decision against Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez last year that was a far worse scored fight than this one.
You can argue that Cortes did enough to earn the fight, but it was fine either way.
Estrada had to rally to get the win by knocking the 27-year-old Cortes down in the seventh round, and taking the eighth and ninth. However, Cortes’ youth showed itself in the championship rounds, as he appeared to sweep the 10th, 11th, and 12th.
Obviously, the judges didn’t see it that way, as they went the hometown fighter Estrada, but Cortes clearly got the better of the aging Juan Francisco in the final three rounds.
Estrada was fighting with a bloody nose from the fourth round after Cortes teed off on him with a flurry of shots that had him looking hurt against the ropes. It was target practice for Cortes in rounds four through six, as he dominated the ring-rusty Estrada, making him look sluggish and slow in the process.
Coming off an 18-month layoff and a punishing controversial 12 round split decision win over Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez last May, the 32-year-old Estrada looked far older than his chronological age of 32.
This was supposed to have been an easy gimme for Estrada against an unranked fighter, but it turned out to be one of his toughest fights since his loss to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.
If this is the last fight for Estrada before he faces Chocolatito in their trilogy fight, he’s in trouble because he’s going to get taken apart by the former four-division world champion.
Estrada looks deteriorated from the last time he fought Chocolatito, but the 1000+ punches that Roman threw in that fight have something to do with it. Chocolatito punished Estrada in that fight, and tonight’s performance is a product of that.