The Welterweight division of today is currently in a standstill. Due to a combination of politics, injuries, and bullshit. Truthfully, it is one of the most terrible divisions in boxing. It is sad because there are a lot of talented fighters that operate there. However, the significant fights do not get made in a timely fashion or at all. It is frustrating to see a division like that struggle and be mediocre. So, as I usually do, it was time to look at yesteryear. This fight I picked because it was a sentimental favorite of mine and also Shutterworth the Gawd. We were having discussions on a potential fight for a “Forgotten Fade” article and again this fight came up. Kermit Cintron vs David Estrada was an IBF eliminator. Cintron was trying to right the wrong that happened in his then lone world title shot against then reigning WBO Welterweight Champion Antonio Margarito. Margarito would dominate, break down, and stop an undefeated Cintron in only five rounds. The sight of Kermit Cintron crying after being knocked out was not one lost to boxing fans. David Estrada was a contender who at the time had only lost to the best in the division, Ishe Smith and Shane Mosley. He was looking for the notable victory on his ledger on top of the chance to fight for the title. The stage was set.
The first round started with Estrada being characteristically aggressive, attacking with two hands on a moving Cintron. Cintron is trying to keep distance using a jab with his exceptionally long reach. Estrada, keeping his head off the line, got through with a right hand and left hook that shook up Cintron. Cintron immediately responded with his right hand. Both fighters clearly were not shy of letting their offense go early in the fight. The 2nd and 3rd rounds followed the same way. Estrada getting bolder in asserting his offense. Going forward with reckless aggression throwing his both hands trying to set a pace thinking Cintron would not be able to manage. Cintron, to his credit, remained more disciplined with his boxing. Taking the shots on his gloves and moving backwards trying to maintain the distance to box. Estrada’s offensive surge did pay an early dividend by inflicting a cut over Cintron’s eye after catching him with some winging shots. In the fourth round, Estrada managed to get inside and started cracking Cintron with heavy shots. Cintron knew he had to stand his ground and get his punching respect; else Estrada would not stop coming forward. So, he played the role of the counter puncher making sure that for every shot Estrada landed, he responded with 2-3 punch combinations in kind. The highlight was a mean right uppercut from Cintron that visibly shook-up Estrada. The audibles on some of these shots were crazy. It is a full-on slugfest at this point. On one hand you have Estrada just putting Cintron under crazy pressure landing winging shots then Cintron rocks him with a hook or straight hand and Estrada would wobble and be stunned. It was hard to tell who was going to break first. The crowd is very appreciative of the level of sustained action. In those mid rounds though, you can tell the power of Cintron was getting to Estrada. Cintron was lining up right hands on Estrada, snapping his head back. Estrada would just pound on his chest telling him to bring it on. Estrada would then retaliate with some withering body shots although prior he was starting to spit up some blood himself. What Estrada was not doing was getting out of the wheelhouse of Cintron’s punches. One more long, head snapping right hand after a shot to the body had Estrada doing a silly dance at the end of the sixth round trying to hang on. Estrada was so loopy for that that the ref (and Cintron) had to point him to the right corner.
In the seventh round Cintron is throwing with fire in his eyes. Wicked body-head combinations that had Estrada lowering his hands to protect his body and eating headshots in return. As part of the ebb and flow for this fight, a left hook and a right hand from Estrada found its mark and all of a sudden Cintron was in trouble. Holding on while absorbing a wild barrage of punches from Estrada who had nothing to lose. In the eighth round Estrada picked up where he left off and managed to knock Cintron’s mouthpiece. The ref rightfully had to call a temporary stop to the action much to the crowd’s displeasure. When the fight resumed, it was back to rock ’em, sock’ em action where it looked like Estrada was getting the better of the exchanges. The ninth round resembled some of the first couple rounds where Cintron is going back to sticking and moving while Estrada again is coming forward although a little sloppy by this point. In round ten, the accumulated punishment took hold on Estrada when two right hands from Cintron put him on the canvas for the first knockdown. Estrada looked finished and barely responded to the ref’s commands, but the ref let him continue. Cintron raced across the ring with an uppercut and right hand followed by more head and body combinations. The ref saw Estrada was not picking up the punches, stepped in, and waved it off. A brutal, spectacular win for Kermit Cintron, who becomes the first man to stop David Estrada. The aftermath would see Cintron go to the hospital for stitches while Estrada went for dehydration.
The win from Cintron came with a number 2 ranking. In his next fight he would face Mark Suarez for the vacated IBF Welterweight Title (previous champion Floyd Mayweather Jr) and stop him in five rounds. A couple of successful defenses against Jesse Feliciano and Walter Matthysse (A sickeningly brutal KO) would follow before losing again to Antonio Margarito. From there Cintron would be very up and down. A Brilliant win over the then undefeated Alfredo Angulo to a confusing draw with Sergio Martinez in which he was counted out before but somehow the fight was restarted. Then you have the losses to Paul Williams, Carlos Molina, and Saul Canelo Alvarez. Each fight shows the increasing mental unraveling of Kermit Cintron in tough physical fights. Another draw with Adrian Granados pretty much spelled the end of Cintron as a viable contender. A technical draw, knockout loss, and no contest were the results of his final three career fights of which Cintron would retire in 2018. An update from Ring Magazine https://www.ringtv.com/645110-family-man-kermit-cintron-happier-with-birdies-than-big-kos/ has Cintron happily retired, spending time with family, studying radiography, and playing golf. For David Estrada, unfortunately the pattern of coming up short in big fights would follow. A 3-fight win streak would see him back in another eliminator against Andre Berto. Another brutal back and forth fight which saw him get stopped in eight rounds. Back-to-back losses to Jesus Soto Karass and Luis Abregu looked like the end was near for David Estrada. Estrada would rebound with his best career win to date knocking out then undefeated Orlando Lora in eight rounds. However, promotional issues would kill the momentum of his career even though he won all eight of his fights after the aforementioned loss to Abregu. Estrada fought as recently as 2020 however has transitioned into an assistant trainer role working out of a gym in Miami. Both may have underachieved in their pro careers, but their fight stands out on its own. Strong recommendation to watch.
Written by Patscorpio