Live From Vero Beach, Florida: Judyth Piazza chats with Jason “Big Six” Estrada (click here to listen to audio interview)
2004 United States Olympian Jason “Big Six” Estrada, one of the most decorated amateur boxers in U.S. history, rated among the world`s best super heavyweights for several years, has yet to reach his potential as a professional.
Jason`s most impressive performance as a pro arguably was six fights ago, when “Big Six” won a one-sided 10-round decision from former NABO/NABA/WBC Continental Americas heavyweight champion Lance “Mount” Whitaker (32-5-1, 27 KOs) in their April 4, 2008 ESPN2 FNF show headliner.
Providence native Estrada has fought anybody put in the ring with him, never turning down a fight, and none of his opponents has had a losing record (311-101-15 combined record of his opponents) when they fought “Big Six.”
His three losses were all on the road in the backyards of former world champion Tomasz Adamek, 2004 Olympic gold medalist Alexander Povetkin and Travis Walker. Estrada has never been floored, never mind stopped, in his pro career.
His much-anticipated pro debut December 10, 2004 ended in a unanimous four-round decision in his favor against Joseph Kenneth at Foxwoods Resort Casino.
Four months later, Jason put Jerry Simpson to sleep at 2:35 of the opening round, throwing a devastating knockout punch that resulted in Simpson being taken out of the ring on a stretcher and evaluated at a nearby hospital (he was okay).
He followed June 17 with a unanimous four-round decision against Demetrice King (7-6), in which, King`s corner tried to stop the fight by throwing in the towel. Only the referee can stop a fight in Rhode Island, however, and Demetrice managed to last the remainder of the fight.
Jason floored Earl Ladson (10-6) three times en route to a unanimous six-round decision (60-51, 60-51, 60-51) on August 26, 2005 and followed that (Nov. 23) with a six-round decision against highly respected veteran Najee Shaheed (21-10-2) in back-to-back Providence-based matches.
In February of 2006, Estrada stepped into the ring at the Dunkin` Donuts Center in Providence on “The Contender Special – East Coast Pride” card against his toughest and most experienced opponent, Yanqui Diaz (13-3), who had registered victories against previously unbeaten Juan Carlos Gomez (37-0) via a shocking first-round TKO and former world title challenger Vaughen Bean (44-4). The fight, however, was stopped in the first round due to a cut on Diaz` head from an unintentional head-butt and ruled a “no contest.”
In only his sixth pro fight, Jason went 10 rounds against veteran Robert Wiggins (20-6-1), pitching a shutout (100-90 three times) in complete domination of his cross-town Providence rival, who has beaten Derek Bryant, Courage Tshabala, Eric Kirkland and Cisse Salif, as well as been in with world heavyweight title challengers Monte Barrett and DeVarryl Williamson.
Jason extended his perfect winning rounds streak to 39 on Sept. 23, 2006, easily defeating Maurice Wheeler (10-7-1) by unanimous eight-round decision (80-72 three times) in Hartford.
On November 17, 2006, Estrada injured his arm and was unable to extend his vaunted jab, resulting in an eight-round majority loss (76-76, 75-77, 74-78) on ShoBox to Travis “Freight Train” Walker (21-0-1), who Jason has beaten three times without a loss in the amateurs.
Trimmed down to 239 pounds and in his best condition of his pro career, Jason returned to the ring March 6, 2007 at Mohegan Sun Arena, where he pitched a shutout, winning a six-round decision (60-54 three times) against upset specialist Zack Page (13-11-1), who had beaten former world champion Lou Del Valle, on ESPN2 Friday Night Fights.
On May 11, 2007, Estrada weighed in at a pro career low of 238 pounds, and he easily won a six round decision (60-54, 60-54, 59-56) versus former IBU heavyweight title-holder Robert Hawkins (21-7), who went on to upset Dominick Guinn.
Jason closed out 2007 with a devastating knockout of James Northey (11-1, 8 KOs), former NABC title-holder, in the fourth round of their fight in October. Estrada easily won a unanimous 10-round decision (99-91, 99-91, 98-92) against former world title challenger Charles Shufford in January, 2008 at Foxwoods.
After Jason`s win by 10-round decision in April, 2008 versus Whitaker, Estrada registered a victory by seventh-round TKO against Moultrie Witherspoon (14-1) last May in Rhode Island and came back three months later to win an eight-round decision versus Texas State champion Domonic Jenkins (13-9) at Mohegan Sun.
Big Six” came within a single point on one judge`s scorecard of pitching a complete shutout November 29, 2008, winning an eight-round decision (80-72, 80-72, 79-73) against Philadelphia veteran Derek Bryant (20-4-1) at Twin River.
This past April, Estrada accepted the challenge to fight No. 1 IBF contender Povetkin (16-0), who won the gold medal in the super heavyweight division at the 2004 Olympics, in Povetkin`s German home base. Estrada and Povetkin were supposed to have fought two times in the amateurs, but they never did as Estrada won gold at the 2003 Pan-Am Games and Povetkin took top honors in the 2003 World Championships. Estrada went the full 10-round distance against Povetkin, who won a unanimous decision that was much closer than the final scoring (99-94, 98-92, 97-93).
Estrada bounced right back September 2 in Syracuse (NY), stopping veteran Zuri Lawrence (24-14-4) in the seventh round.
In his last fight (Feb. 6, 2010), Jason went into the lion`s den – Prudential Center in Newark before 10,000 Polish fans – to take on Adamek for the IBF International heavyweight title. Estrada extended Adamek the full 12 rounds and lost a 12-round decision that was much closer than the final scores indicated (115-113, 116-112, 118-110).
The 29-year-old Estrada was one of the most highly decorated American amateur boxers ever, compiling an amazing 261-14 record in U.S. competition, as well as the first boxer to win both the U.S. Nationals and U.S. Challenge three years (2001-2003) in a row. The highlight of his amateur career was representing the United States in the 2004 Olympics, although physical problems hampered his training and performances.
During his extraordinary amateur career, Estrada defeated some of today`s leading professionals, including former world title challenger DaVarryl “The Touch of Sleep” Williamson (26-6, 22 KOs), unbeaten Malik Scott (32-0, 11 KOs), Donnell “The Real Touch of Sleep” Holmes (32-1-2, 28 KOs), Malcolm “The Showstopper” Tann (23-4, 12 KOs), and Felix “Bad News” Cora, Jr. (22-3-2, 10 KOs).
Jason Estrada, now promoted by Boxing 360, is managed and trained by his father, Dr. Roland Estrada.
JASON “Big Six” ESTRADA
Pro Record: 16-3 (4 KOs) 1 NC
Born: November 30, 1980 in Providence, Rhode Island
Hometown: Providence, Rhode Island
Height: 6` 0″ Weight: 240 lbs.
Pro Record: 16-3 (4 KOs)
2004 U.S. Olympian
2003 Pan-American Games, Gold Medallist
3-time U.S. Nationals, U.S. Challenge & National PAL Champion
Photos by Emily Harney