Juan Francisco Estrada Cracks P4P and Giovani Segura

By Matt McGrain on September 7, 2014
Juan Francisco Estrada Cracks P4P and Giovani Segura
Yes, boxing and time is a combination that is not kind to even those that sacrifice to both.

Segura’s performance confirmed his status as one of boxing’s definitive heart-fuelled warriors post-Gatti…

Juan Francisco Estrada (now 27-2) cracked one of the toughest nuts in boxing last night in Mexico City, breaking hard man Giovani Segura (32-4-1) in eleven one-sided rounds.

Despite that one-sidedness it was a highly entertaining affair, a theme for what has been a tremendous weekend of boxing that nevertheless saw Roman Gonzalez and Carl Frampton dominate thrilling contests by wide margins.

So it was with Juan Francisco Estrada, who looked brilliant in defeating old-warrior Segura. Bigger, technically superior and as fast of hand as I have ever seen him, Segura won almost every minute versus the one-time pound-for-pounder who for the first time was made to look old by a younger opponent.

Segura was an underdog going in, but a live one, and one who can never be ruled anything but extremely dangerous due to his mix of aggression and heart. Writing before the fight I claimed that oddsmakers were right to favor Estrada but that he was probably “too tough” to be stopped by Segura. The younger man made a mockery of this prediction with some scintillating boxing, jabbing at range, moving languidly away with those long legs before countering with a savage right hand when Segura tried to rush, as sound a strategy as can be imagined for keeping him under control. Estrada never failed to punish him for transgressions of his territory and Segura ended the first round with an unhealthy respect for his opponent’s punches.

Those punches are exceptional; Estrada lands them in fluid bunches to head and body against world-class opposition, with frequency. He seems long-limbed but his reach is average for his division, more it is a combination of suppleness, accuracy and timing that makes him appear so – in essence Estrada has grace, but a grace built for war. His domination of the second was near complete, slipping Segura bunches or nudging them off his midriff with his elbows, countering brutally with a tight uppercut or right-left-right combinations that made his opponent look suddenly old. Thirty-two isn’t young for a flyweight, but Segura has looked absolutely brilliant these past months; his dramatic aging seems to have had more to do with the beautiful box-puncher in front of him.

Indeed no fighter looks young against the type of boxing Estrada was displaying, a thunderous right-uppercut to the heart giving Segura pause and allowing Estrada to spin him without touching him by ducking and turning in a neat tight circle, Segura following and being made to eat a meaty jab for his trouble. Inside, too, he dominated, gathering Segura’s punches on his relaxed guard, before turning him and leathering him with wide, arching punches to the body. Those who have followed Segura’s career will understand the relevance of his falling from the ropes and into a clinch with 1:48 remaining of the third.

Segura opened the fourth with two left hooks, one upstairs, one down, and the success bore him momentum, but he had been driven to the ropes once more at 1:48, Estrada exalting all over him with a withering combination of punches wide and compressed. He was suddenly looking very much the smaller, as well as the older man and Estrada’s wider shoulders and narrow advantage in height combined to make him seem all at once two weight-classes bigger. 

Estrada was compounding these advantages into pain, and he dished out plenty through the fifth and sixth, most notably rocking Segura with a lead right near the close of the fifth and a right uppercut to the body that shook him mid-way through the sixth. Segura was still there, still punching, but looked so ineffective against an opponent who, astonishingly, seemed to be a class removed from him. Again and again, Segura would be speared by an uppercut whilst enjoying moderate success on the inside; again and again this punch, which is one of the very best of its kind in boxing today, signalled that Estrada was about to take over the action once more.

He completely dominated the seventh and eighth with withering straight punches that had Segura sagging. Only his incredible determination kept him surging forwards in a fight in which he had not yet won a round and would not win a round. Retrospectively the fact that he made the eleventh is astonishing, and a final confirmation of his status as one of boxing’s definitive heart-fuelled warriors post-Gatti. He has provided so many wonderful memories down the years, the two car-crash octane-burnt warlord’s victories over the pound-for-pounder Ivan Calderon, that brutal derailment of top contender Jonathan Gonzalez that in turn led to his fight-of-the year victory over Hernan Marquez last year; his savage first round knockouts of Dan Reyes and Sonny Boy Jaro, who lasted less than a minute before succumbing to one of the most hideous one-shot body-punch stoppages on film; the smiling face at the weigh-in, the grim visage in the ring.

Yes, boxing and time is a combination that is not kind to even those that sacrifice to both and as Segura dragged himself up for the eleventh, only one final kindness remained. 

Estrada stalked carefully, almost as though he knew time was on his side. Even his face looks different now; youth has betrayed it in his twenty-fourth year and he has adopted the “grim visage” of Segura, penetrating eyes stacked in a blank killers face. He is a man, and one that has apparently come to learn his worth.

It was a left uppercut that started the final moments, wider and longer than the punches Estrada had been throwing for most of the night, but it caught Segura flush as he leaned into himself and he was immediately in trouble. He backed up untidily along the rope, Estrada hit him to the body, he stumbled to a neutral corner, Estrada began to bang him and the towel came fluttering in just as the referee reached the same conclusion his corner had. Segura had been savaged. Hopefully he comes back for one or two soft ones, as it would be terribly sad to see such a wonderful fighter go out on a loss, but one fears that with his burning desire for combat Segura may go on too long. Should he come again to the heights he has reached it would be one of boxing’s great comebacks, because Estrada has outclassed, outgunned, outfought, and even if he couldn’t quite unman him, he has shown that Segura does not belong in the same ring as him. 

This fight, was non-competitive.

There is perhaps no shame in that. Juan Francisco Estrada is among the best fighters in the world now. Since his defeat at the hands of Roman Gonzalez he has beaten pound-for-pounder Brian Viloria, 29-0 Milan Melindo, 27-3-1 Richie Mepranum and now, by total domination, ranked and made man Giovani Segura. My pound-for-pound list has been shaken up this weekend and now looks like this:

01 – Floyd Mayweather
03 – Andre Ward
04 – Manny Pacquiao
05 – Wladimir Klitschko
06 – Guillermo Rigondeaux
07 – Timothy Bradley
08 – Juan Manuel Marquez
10 – Carl Froch

The youngest man on the list, Estrada may rank for years to come.

Roman Gonzalez is going to match the resurgent Panamanian Luis Concepcion next, possibly on neutral territory out in Japan, which Gonzalez is set to make his home away from home. Segura last met Gonzalez in the United States and fought what most saw as a close and brilliant fight against the pound-for-pound #2. A rematch seems inevitable and has tentatively been slated for next year.

I suspect the winner of that one will become heir apparent to Floyd Mayweather, though the much older amateur stars Guillermo Rigondeaux and Vasyl Lomachenko may have something to say about that.

Estrada may choose to tread water next time out, and wait for King Gonzalez. If they decide to put an underqualified fighter in the ring with Estrada though, the referee had better pay close attention to his condition. Estrada is deadly.

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Juan Francisco Estrada vs. Giovani Segura

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  1. Matt McGrain 09:49am, 09/09/2014

    Transnational Boxing Board introduce Estrada to the p4p list:

  2. ramon antolin 04:15pm, 09/07/2014

    When Brian Viloria won by TKO over Segura who was No.8 p4p they did not put him in the p4p list! why then now Estrada won over him who is not a champion anymore, they will place him in the p4p list? what’s this? Favoritism? Just like Denver Cuello and Michael Farenas who are continuously denied of title shots despite winning the eliminators! Very bad for boxing!

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