Photos by Sumio Yamada
TRAVIS WALKER W8 JASON ESTRADA
When Jason Estrada lost to a Cuban in the Olympics he was criticised for being too heavy, too reluctant and too unconcerned about winning. The same expressions of disapproval could be levelled at him after his eight-round majority decision loss to his old amateur rival Travis Walker on ShoBox.
Unbelievably, Estrada came in at his heaviest-ever 257 pounds for the biggest fight of his pro career. Walker came in at his lightest weight of 235. Right there we were given a clue about the mental approach of the two unbeaten heavyweights.
Estrada indeed boxed in a lackadaisical manner and seemed to tire early. Walker fought hard and with great determination. I had the impression that Estrada was just trying to steal rounds with flurries; Walker was fighting as if his life depended on it.
After an excellent second round, when he moved around Walker, hitting his opponent and making him look clumsy. Estradas energy level seemed to sink significantly.
Walker, big, strong and willing, landed the effective punches. Estrada seemed to be slapping a lot, and although he did land a good left hook in the sixth and another in the seventh it was one and done. Walker was often made to miss, but when he landed his right hand he seemed to shake Estrada.
My impression was that Walkers pressure was making Estrada uncomfortable I think for the first time as a pro he was in with someone who was taking it right to him and believed he could beat him. Still, I thought that if Estrada had really let his hands go in just one or two of several close rounds he could have pulled this out but he didnt. Either he was concerned about getting caught or he simply didnt have it in him. Maybe it was a bit of both.
Judge Marty Denkin had the fight all-even at 76-76 but judges Raul Caiz Sr. and Lou Filippo had Walker ahead 77-75 and 78-74 respectively, so Estrada was just one round on one card from at least escaping with a draw.
Walker was game and well-conditioned; Estrada was simply disappointing. I thought that Estrada had the look of the more gifted boxer and he did beat Walker three times in the amateurs. Walker, though, was showing the judges that he wanted to win, and the honesty of his effort was correctly rewarded.