Juan Francisco Estrada vs Raymond Tabugon & Emanuel Navarrete vs Martin Casillas
BY KID HERSH
From Estadio Francisco Leon Garcia in Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico came beIN boxing. First up was Emanuel Navarrete (21-1, 19KO's) vs Martin Casillas (18-8-1, 11KO's). Jimmy Lennon Jr was again on scene for announcing. Navarrete is just a young pup at 21 years old and his announced record kind of differs from boxrec, but in any case he was using his length against the much smaller man. In the third round Navarrete was having target practice on the small man in front of him by jumping in and out and firing punches while Casillas could not break out of his guard in time to do much about it. It looked like he was breaking Casillas down but Casillas continued firing - even if it was a bit comical at times because his short little arms just could not reach the far lengthier Navarrete. As the second half of the fight rolled around you could tell that Navarrete just does not have the power to take out Casillas, who is hanging in there but still cannot win rounds due what looks like a physical problem (size) more than a skills problem. Navarrete was keeping a high work rate as the late rounds came, switching between orthodox and southpaw but was a bit sloppy with his work. His stamina was really something else - as one can see in the eighth round when he must have fired well over 100 punches - but he is still just a bit sloppy with his work. Understandable, since he is such a youngster yet, but that defense could really be a problem in the future. He won this fight via wide unanimous decision - likely a good learning curve fight for him regarding what to do when you have a guy in front of you that will not go down like all of the others.
Main event time featuring Juan Francisco Estrada (33-2, 24KO's) vs Raymond John Tabugon (18-5-1, 8KO's). In the first round Estrada was not able to impose his will as easily as he normally does - with Tabugon standing his ground and while taking more than he was giving he was getting in enough solid punches to keep Estrada thinking twice about walking in with power shots. In the second round El Gallo showed great defense by slipping and parrying most of Tabugons punches and going to the body of the challenger. In the third round the talent gap became even more apparent as Estrada blast home power shots on Tabugon throughout the round. He hurt him multiple times in the second half of the round but just could not quite put him down. It might have been a balance issue with Tabugon at times also, however. Estrada pressed forward harder in the fourth round due to a combination of hurting Tabugon in the third and also figuring his man out. He was breaking down Tabugons body beautifully and also nailing him up top at this point with it only looking like a matter of time before he puts him away. Tabugon seemed to catch a second wind momentarily in the second half of the fight but again nearing the end of the seventh round it looked like he was on his way out, only to come out in the eighth and still look like he was on his last leg but make it through the round. He took hard shots such as the right hand from El Gallo in the final minute of the eighth round that at this point in a fight would have dropped most fighters but he took it and stayed up. He was on unsteady legs but that is really the story of more than half the fight for Tabugon, who made it to the final bell. Estrada showed his usual great conditioning but more rises in weight have taken some of his knockout power away it would seem.