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Boxing Trilogy Saturday: Time To Decide

Image: Matchroom Boxing

New York – What is better than a boxing trilogy between two fighters? Perhaps the MLB World Series, NFL Super Bowl, NBA Championship, or the current FIFA World Cup are the supremacy of all sports. But through the illustrious history of boxing, two fighters in a decisive third fight is always anticipated.

Arturo Gatti and “Irish” Mickey Ward had three epic fights. Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier put their names in boxing history with a trilogy when the heavyweight division was supreme. And Rafael Marquez in the ring with Israel Vazquez is another one.

Recently, Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin settled their score. A third time it was all about Alvarez, a fight that did not live up to expectations that many described as one of those putrid fights of the year.

And then there is this Saturday, a rare double trilogy on two sides of the globe. Tyson Fury in England defends the WBC heavyweight title in his third encounter with Derek Chisora and televised on ESPN Plus. Hours later, in Glendale Arizona, streamed on DAZN, Juan Francisco Estrada opposes Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez in their trilogy for Estrada’s vacant WBC junior bantamweight title.

Two trilogies, though the implications are more significant for Fury who has won the previous two versus Chisora. A Fury win sets a probable important and talked about unification fight with Oleksandr Usyk the current WBA, IBF, WBO champion.

But there could be more intrigue with Estrada and Gonzalez, a division that does not get deserved acclaim because of their weight class. They have a friendly score to settle after going toe-to-toe in two fights that saw 2.529 punches thrown in 24 rounds and earning a split.

The Gonzalez and Estrada rivalry dates back to 2012. Then, Estrada took the 12-round WBA Light Flyweight title with a unanimous decision. And last year in their second fight, Estrada lost a 12-round split decision.

“If you thought the second fight was good, the third fight will be even better because we are prepared better than before,” said Gonzalez, (51-3,42 Ko’s) a veteran 35-year old from Nicaragua.

“I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m very happy and we’ve done a good job to show that I have a special talent and I’m going to enjoy this with my family and my people,” said Estrada, (43-3-0, 28 Ko’s) of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico.

“He (Chocolatito) and I are fighters who do our talking in the ring. Outside we’re respectful but inside we disrespect each other. We’re colleagues outside of the ring and what we do, we do it in the ring and we”re going to show in the ring. That’s why this is going to be the best fight out of all three of them. The best one will win and I feel like the people are going to take a good show.”

So a fan should expect similar action and many punches thrown, after all these are two fighters that know each other well. Will this be a trilogy that will be remembered, more than the others? Time will tell, and the first round could dictate how many punches or distance of a fight to end the boxing calendar year.

Fury could be the face of boxing and the heavyweight division at one time got that consideration. Though, one never knows the next move for the biggest height wise in heavyweight history. Fury had three epic fights with Deontay Wilder for the unified titles, winning two of three

But in boxing, unifying the titles even with a trilogy at stake is a mission in futility with the different sanctioning organizations and promoters claiming a piece of the prize.

Fury, though, has another mission. Despite injuries to both elbows that put him in a so-called brief retirement, unification and getting an opportunity to meet Usyk is now the ultimate goal.

Regardless, Fury, who won the previous two fights, was pleased that his opponent took this fight again, so there is respect that was seen during their final press conference Thursday afternoon in London. He is also the premier champion on the Top Rank Boxing promotional roster and a fight with Usyk, in London, could be a blockbuster at the gate on pay-per-view.

Fury (32-0-1, 23 KOs) will defend his crown against Chisora (33-12, 23 KOs) at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in front of an expected sold-out crowd of roughly 70,000. Fury defeated Chisora in 2011 (UD 12) and 2014 (TKO 10), but this is the first time they will fight with the heavyweight title on the line.

After their second meeting, Fury went on to topple Wladimir Klitschko for the heavyweight title, participate in a historic trilogy against Deontay Wilder, and pack a UK-record 94,000 fans into Wembley Stadium for his April 2022 showdown against Dillian Whyte. Chisora continued as one of Britain’s most popular attractions, most recently edging two-time world title challenger Kubrat Pulev by split decision.

“I needed to fight this year regardless of who it was,” Fury said. “I love fighting. I always need to fight. I wish I could fight every single month of my life. Derek’s the same. We love to fight. So, if we could fight 12 times next year, that’d be fantastic.”

“I’m doing what I love to do. I’m getting paid to do what I love. I take my career very seriously. I’m looking forward to it. I cannot wait to get out there, put on a show and entertain. Come Saturday night, there’s no friendship. There are no friends in business, and this is a business transaction. So, we’re going to go in there, punch out of each other, and then afterward we can have a nice little sandwich, a nice cup of tea, whatever he wants.”

Fury says this is not a problem.”While we’re in there, we’re in fight mode. We’re going to put on a great show.”

Two more fights for the record books. And two more for that trilogy that happens in boxing.

Rich Mancuso is a senior writer Twitter@Ring786 Watch “Sports with Rich” live on Tuesday Nights at 8pm EST on The SLG Network/Youtube with Robert Rizzo Available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify under The SLG Network.

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