Carlos Cuadras: Super Fly

By Caryn A. Tate on August 28, 2017
Carlos Cuadras: Super Fly
“They could’ve just looked at both faces—I didn’t have any marks.” (Richard Vogel/AP)

“I like Muhammad Ali’s movements, the defense technique that Mayweather has, and Julio Cesar Chavez Sr.’s strength…”

Carlos “El Principe” Cuadras (36-1, 27 KOs) is one of boxing’s more skillful fighters of recent memory. Despite the pound-for-pound ascent of Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, a recent foe of Cuadras’, fighters in smaller weight divisions still sometimes get overlooked by media and fans; but for anyone who is a fan of the sweet science, once you see “El Principe” fight, you won’t forget him.

In the amateurs, Cuadras amassed an impressive record of approximately 150-10. He won a gold medal at the 2007 Pan American Games, won gold in the 2005 International Junior Olympics, and won bronze at the 2007 Mexican National Championships. Carlos believes he was not selected for the 2008 Mexican Olympic team due to a decision made in an office, rather than in the ring. “Unfortunately, these kinds of things can happen,” he said. “Sometimes they don’t give us the opportunity as they should. Like in this case, the opportunity was given to whom they thought was better than me because of administrative decisions, not sport ones.”

Still, Cuadras’ extensive experience in the amateurs gave him a leg up in his pro career. “I feel very prepared, because I have faced the best fighters in the world, and traveled many countries to fight rivals.”

In the professional ranks, Cuadras won the WBC Youth Intercontinental super flyweight title within two years of turning pro. In May 2014, he defeated incoming champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai for the WBC world super flyweight title, and held the title for over two years until he faced Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez in September 2016. In that exciting bout, the judges awarded a unanimous decision to Gonzalez in what many observers saw as a fight that could have gone either way. In the face of Gonzalez’s elite-level skill and his overwhelming activity, Cuadras boxed phenomenally well and used consistent movement, ring smarts, angles, distance, and defense to dodge most of Gonzalez’s shots and land more clean punches of his own for many of the rounds. Gonzalez, it should be mentioned, was recognized as the #1 pound-for-pound boxer by many pundits at the time.

Though on its own it’s not a sign of who won a fight, Gonzalez’s face after the bout was grotesquely swollen—more than we’ve seen with him—while Cuadras came through with relatively little obvious damage. Cuadras made note of this himself.

“[It’s] very simple,” Cuadras said with characteristic bravado, when asked what he felt the judges in that bout should have given him more credit for. “They could’ve just looked at both faces—I didn’t have any marks and he was very damaged. That night I did very effective boxing.”

In fact, Carlos is so proud of his performance versus Gonzalez that he would recommend it to fans who have not yet seen him fight. “They should watch the beat down I gave ‘Chocolatito,’ who they said was the best pound [for] pound at the time.”

On September 9, the WBC’s #1 ranked super flyweight Cuadras will appear on the superb “Super Fly” card at Stub Hub Center in Carson, California. He’ll face #2 rated Juan Francisco “El Gallo” Estrada (35-2, 25 KOs) in a super flyweight 12-round WBC world title eliminator. Whoever wins this bout will be next in line to face the winner of Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (who is now, again, the WBC world super flyweight champion) vs. Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, which is happening the same night on the “Super Fly” card.

Estrada, a great fighter himself, also had a close and exciting contest with Gonzalez in 2012, which Gonzalez won. Cuadras is respectful of his upcoming opponent; when asked to evaluate Estrada, Carlos stated, “He is a great fighter, has a good technique and a strong punch.” But Estrada has only recently moved up in weight to the super flyweight division, and Cuadras feels this does give him an edge. “Honestly I think that I do have an advantage because of the time that I have been [in] that division.”

Cuadras, who displays superb movement and defense in the ring, also packs a powerful punch. This is unusual for any mobile fighter, but particularly for a boxer in the lighter weight classes. With his 71% KO ratio (27 of his 36 wins coming by stoppage), I was curious whether his power is God-given or if it’s something he’s worked on, or perhaps a bit of both. “It is natural,” Carlos said. “As [an] amateur I worked a lot on my movements and as a professional I’ve worked on my strength.”

A natural athlete, Carlos also works on staying fit during his down time, rather than waiting until training camp to get back in fighting shape. “I am well prepared, always trying to keep on moving and continue to be in a great physical shape.”

What with his charming and boisterous personality outside the ring, combined with his mobility and “hit and don’t get hit” style inside the ropes, it’s perhaps not surprising that “The Greatest,” Muhammad Ali, is one of the fighters Cuadras looks up to the most. When revealing his favorite boxers, Cuadras said, “I like Muhammad Ali’s movements, the defense technique that Mayweather has, and Julio Cesar Chavez Sr.’s strength.”

As for what’s next, Cuadras isn’t overlooking Estrada by any means. But he has his eye firmly set on a future target. “I would like a rematch with ‘Chocolatito.’ He already knows who the best is.”

Follow Caryn A. Tate on Twitter@carynatate

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Chocolatito vs. Cuadras 2016 – Full Fight (HBO Boxing)

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  1. Dane Clark 08:58am, 08/29/2017

    Chocolatito has a round moon face to start with….doesn’t take much to make him look all swollen up. Just like guys with beaks for noses who inevitably get bloody noses in just about every outing or guys with angular bones around the brow area that are prone to cuts. It’s not PC to discuss it, but believe it or not some fighters have certain physical advantages in this “sport” that involves smashing your opponent in the face!

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