By Allan Fox: Julio Cesar Martinez has stepped up to save the day to face Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez on March 5 in the headliner on DAZN following Juan Francisco Estrada dropping out of the fight due to COVID-19 complications.
Promoter Eddie Hearn was nearly apoplectic after being informed by ‘El Gallo’ Estrada’s manager Juan Hernandez that he wouldn’t be able to take the trilogy match against former four-division world champion ‘Chocolatito (50-3, 41 KOs) due to post-COVID-19 complications.
The Matchroom Boxing promoter Hearn reveals that he had the option of replacing Estrada with IBF super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas and WBA champion Joshua Franco as the opponent for Chocolatito to fight on March 5.
Martinez cannot afford to get sloppy against Chocolatito as he did in his fights against Jay Harris, McWilliams Arroyo, and Cristofer Rosales because he’s too talented for him to come in square, flailing his arms.
Hearn lucky to have Martinez as replacement
Eddie felt he needed a more prominent name, and he came up with the idea us using WBC flyweight champion ‘Rey’ Martinez (18-1, 14 KOs) as the substitute.
Fortunately for Hearn, Martinez’s trainer/manager Eddy Reynoso didn’t block the fight. Reynoso also trainers and manages Canelo Alvarez, who is very selective in the type of opposition he faces.
Chocolatito and Rey Martinez will be battling it out on March 5 live on DAZN at the Pechanga Arena in San Diego, California.
This is a fight that could be a tough one for the 34-year-old Chocolatito, as he’s getting up there in age, and he hasn’t fought in a year since his war with Estrada last March, which he lost by a 12 round split decision in Dallas, Texas.
If this were a younger Chocolatito in his 20s, one would feel sorry for Rey Martinez, as the Nicaraguan fighter is once in a generation kind of talent. Given Gonzalez’s age, inactivity, and wear & tear from a 17-year professional career, Martinez has got a great shot of winning.
Chocolatito vs. Martinez = “Bloodbath,” says Hearn
“Julio Cesar Martinez and ‘Chocolatitio’ is one of the great moments where a young fighter says, ‘I’ll do it,’” said Eddie Hearn to DAZN Boxing Show.
“I spoke to Eddy Reynoso about the fight, and he said, ‘My crazy man will be ready.’ Forty-eight hours later, we just have a bloodbath on March 5,” said Hearn about his conversation with Rey Martinez’s trainer/manager Reynoso.
“Do not miss this fight. March 5, it’s Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez vs. Julio Cesar Martinez. It’s Nicaragua against Mexico.”
This is one of those rare replacement opponents where the guy who replaces the original fighter is even more dangerous. Hopefully, Chocolatito knows what he’s getting himself into in taking this fight on reasonably short notice.
There’s not a lot of time for Roman to prepare for the all-out fighting style of Rey Martinez, so he;’s going to need to make sure he’s well-prepared.
The 5’3″ Gonzalez will have an inch height advantage over the 5’2″ Martinez, but the reach is the same at 64”. There’s no real size advantage for Gonzalez in this fight.