In a moment that was eerily reminiscent of this year’s Oscar ceremony, Juan Francisco Estrada played the role of “Moonlight” to Carlos Cuadras’ “La La Land” and won a unanimous decision after Michael Buffer incorrectly announced “Carlos Estrada” had won the fight.
The blunder nearly overshadowed a spectacular fight between the two flyweights that kicked off the “Superfly” broadcast on HBO from the Stubhub Center in Carson, California, with the winner likely in line for a title shot in the near future.
Cuadras (27-2-1) got off to a blistering start by being the aggressor and landed combinations to the body and head. But Estrada (36-2) methodically clawed his way back into the fight as the rounds advanced. Perhaps Cuadras’ activity, along with Estrada’s early body work, emptied his gas tank earlier than he would have liked as Estrada slowly began to find a home with his jab and his counterpunching became alarmingly more accurate. The tide officially turned in the sixth round as the 27-year-old sat on a heavy jab and followed with hard counter hooks when the openings were presented by a Cuadras who was a little wild with his punches.
It never appeared that Estrada had a sense of urgency and was comfortable with the pace despite being down on the scorecards. But everything changed in the 10th round when Estrada landed a left hook and a straight right that brought Cuadras down to the canvas. From that point, it felt like it was only a matter of time but Cuadras refused to take a step back even though Estrada’s harder and more accurate punches were clearly capturing the attention of the judges.
It was evident after the final bell rang that the fight was close as both fighters felt they had done enough to win the fight.
But then the scorecards were read by legendary ring announcer Michael Buffer.
— M to the O to the (@missnighthawk) September 10, 2017
All three judges scored the fight 114-113 and Cuadras’ team lifted their fighter onto their shoulders to celebrate when Buffer announced “Carlos” had won the fight. However, he ended his announcement with “Estrada” and left both parties and the fans confused. Cuadras continued to celebrate until it was brought to Buffer’s attention that Juan Francisco Estrada was the winner. It was a bizarre scene but didn’t take away from an excellent fight.
Cuadras did manage to outland Estrada according to Compubox by a margin of 260-221 but the knockdown by Estrada proved to be the difference maker in the fight.