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Estrada edges Chocolatito by split decision for unification

DALLAS (AP) Juan Francisco Estrada beat Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez by split decision in a thrilling title unification fight Saturday night, defending his WBC super flyweight belt and claiming Gonzalez's WBA 115-pound belt.

Estrada (42-3) avenged his loss to Gonzalez in November 2012 by triumphing on two judges' scorecards in a back-and-forth rematch. Estrada hung on despite a phenomenal finish in the 12th round by Gonzalez (50-3), who buckled Estrada's knees with a combination.

Judge David Sutherland scored it 115-113 for Estrada, and Carlos Sucre favored Estrada 117-111. Judge Jesse Reyes scored the bout 115-113 for Gonzalez.

Some fans at the American Airlines Center booed Mexico's Estrada as he celebrated a victory over Nicaragua's Gonzalez. Estrada called for a third bout with Gonzalez in his post-fight interview.

Both fighters started at a high level and never let up during an intense matchup between two of the top lighter-weight fighters of recent years. With high-volume punching and impressive mid-fight strategy adjustments, Estrada and Gonzalez kept up the entertainment until the final bell.

When the fighters met eight years and four months ago, Gonzalez retained his light flyweight title with a unanimous decision victory. Both have moved up two weight classes in the interim.

Estrada improved to 16-1 since that loss to Gonzalez. He claimed two flyweight belts in his very next fight, and he won the WBC super flyweight belt in 2019 with a victory over Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, the only man to beat him since 2012.

Rungvisai also beat Chocolatito twice during that stretch. The Thai veteran has rebounded from his loss to Estrada with three straight wins, including a stoppage of Kwanthai Sithmorseng after three rounds this weekend.

Rungvisai has said he would welcome a third fight with the winner of the Gonzalez-Estrada rematch.

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Updated March 14, 2021

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