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Roman Gonzalez vs. Carlos Cuadras Pick

Roman Gonzalez vs. Carlos Cuadras Fight Preview and Prediction to Win
When: Saturday, September 10, 2016
Where: The Forum, Los Angeles, California
TV: HBO
Weight Class: Super Flyweight: 115 Pounds
Titles: WBC Super Flyweight Championship
By Loot, Boxing Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Roman Gonzalez, 45-0 (38 KOs), Managua, Nicaragua
Vs.
Carlos Cuadras, 35-0-1 (27 KOs), Sinaloa, Mexico

Betting Odds: Roman Gonzalez -600, Carlos Cuadras +400

Top pound-for-pound dog Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez will challenge WBC 115-pound champion Carlos Cuadras in an attempt to win a title in his 4th weight class. The bout will take place at the Forum in Inglewood on September 10. Fans are hoping for one of those vintage lighter-weight blockbuster bouts that come around once every decade or so. These two certainly have the credentials to create those kinds of fireworks, with the pair being undefeated in over 80 bouts. It won't get the attention of some higher-profile bouts, but in terms of merit and skill, this could very well be the fight of the year.

Gonzalez from Nicaragua, is promoted by a Japanese outfit and has fought in the Land of the Sun before, in addition to having his last three fights in the States, including two bouts in this very venue. He turned pro in 2005 and by 2008, he won his first world title at 105 pounds in beating a very good champion in Yutaka Niida. Three defenses later, he moved up to 108 and won his second title. Five defenses followed, before he moved up to 112 and beat a good champion in Akira Yaegashi for his third title, a belt he has now defended 4 times. Among his best wins are Niida, Yaegashi, Juan Francisco Estrada, Edgar Sosa, Brian Viloria, and McWilliams Arroyo.

Cuadras, 27, is from Mexico where he has done most of his fighting, other than two fights in Japan and another in Washington, D.C. He was a well-decorated amateur, winning Pan-Am gold. He had no hiccups in rising up the ranks after turning pro in 2008. Some good wins put him in a spot to challenge for the WBC 115-pound belt, which he won in 2014. He has since made five defenses. Also, Gonzalez isn't the only one who can pack a punch, as Cuadras has 27 KOs in his 35 wins. Neither of these fighters know how to lose.

The real question is what we have with Cuadras. In Gonzalez, we know more or less what he is—one of the best in the world. But who exactly is Carlos Cuadras and what danger level does he represent? On the surface, everything looks up-to-snuff—a slow buildup that led to a title shot. It's just that the big-time talent at 115 is so thin, it's hard to gauge a fighter even if he is a world champion with a handful of defenses under his belt.

I think back to a great Mexican fighter of the 80's who also thrived at 115 pounds—the terrific Gilberto Roman. He has oodles of class and his skills were impressive. A fighter like Roman would represent a reasonable upset-choice against the rampaging three-division champion Gonzalez. But the receipts aren't all in on Cuadras yet. He has certainly beaten some good fighters, but not anyone who can really test his mettle for a task of this quixotic nature or even provide an accurate barometer as to where he stands at this level.

To his credit, Cuadras is a big-framed 115-pounder, standing a lanky 5'8." He has fought at bantamweight before and might end up at 122 pounds or higher before he's finished in the sport. Contrast that to Gonzalez, who won his first world title in boxing's lowest division, the strawweight class where the limit is 105 pounds. You have a guy in Gonzalez fighting in his 4th weight class against a world champion who is at his lowest possible weight. It's easy to blow off the weight differences in divisions that are separated by a Happy Meal's worth of consumption, but it does make a difference. If anything, Cuadras will be the bigger man. He has about a half-foot in height and reach on Gonzalez, enormous advantages at this low of a weight.

That's where the edges start to become harder to find for Cuadras. In terms of experience, Gonzalez has beaten a solid roster of opponents. You don't fight at 105-112 pounds and end up getting recognized as the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world without having extreme talent. Gonzalez really has it all—fantastic boxing skills with all the finer points, along with massive punching power that has led to 38 knockouts in his 45-0 record.

Gonzalez can do it all. He is aggressive, but economical at the same time. There is hardly any wasted movement with Chocolatito. He's no mindless slugger, as his defense and ring-craft are what puts him on another level. His head is positioned well to avoid opponents' punches, as he possesses an advanced understanding of angles and ring geometry. His feet really set him apart. He is able to move out of the way or attack in a fraction of a second with his feet always in a position to respond. When he throws shots, his opponent really doesn't know what's coming. There is no load-up or windup. He is exceptionally smart in the ring. He may not be flashy, but that methodical style he has works to a tee.

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Cuadras is less nuanced than Gonzalez. But Cuadras has a lot going for him, as well. He moves very well and is exceptionally quick. His jab finds its mark and lets him control fights with movement. And he can really scoot around the ring with seamless leg movement. But when the opportunity presents itself, he is able to dig in with hard shots, as his KO record will attest. At the very least, he will be a plucky opponent for Gonzalez. The rub might be that Cuadras uses his legs to great affect defensively, but relies too heavily on it. Against Gonzalez, a fighter needs a more-diversified defense than simply being able to navigate out of the way with his legs. Cuadras is a little straight-up and that's going to likely cost him.

With a fighter as dominant as Gonzalez, the value in betting on him isn't going to be great. But one must be careful in selecting underdogs, as most guys Gonzalez fights simply have close-to-zero chance. I wouldn't put Cuadras in that classification. He does have a chance. But his credentials and size make it so he won't be getting the gigantic odds you would like when going against the mighty Chocolatito. I'm going to put some on Gonzalez, but in an effort to make some real profit, I'm going to hedge it with a bet on the "under," with that line being posted closer to fight-night. I see him getting Cuadras out of there in about 6-7 rounds.

Loot's Pick to Win the Fight: I'm betting on Roman Gonzalez at -600 with a bet on the "under." Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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