Former '05 ESPN PPV headliners ready to square off

I wish Bill Raftery could broadcast one David Estrada fight with me. If ever there was a need for Raftery to use his signature descriptive of an athlete having "onions," it's when Estrada fights. Make that even when Estrada talks. This David acts more like a Goliath.

"It's in my blood. All the men in my family have earned their respect and have lots of pride," Estrada told me.

This week, the iron-chinned welterweight, who has never seen a brawl he didn't like or join, meets up with a heavy-handed opponent who has never seen a chin he didn't test. The Miami-based, Chicago-bred Estrada takes on Kermit Cintron in the main event of "Wednesday Night Fights" (ESPN2, 10 ET).

When last we left them, these 20-something contenders were the co-stars on ESPN pay-per-view at Caesars Palace in Vegas on April 23, 2005. Estrada went toe-to-toe with three-time world champion Sugar Shane Mosley. Estrada lost a decision but gained a lot of street cred.

Going into that April card, Cintron was the highly hyped, unbeaten knockout artist. He was simply annihilated by welterweight belt holder Antonio Margarito.

"I know for a fact that I have never had my ass beaten down. Cintron can't say that. Margarito did it to him," Estrada said. "I asked Cintron at the press conference if he was going to stand up like a man and fight me, or would he run away?"

It's not Cintron's style to run away. Thus, the outcome we saw versus Margarito. Truth is, most welterweights wouldn't last with Margarito. He is as much of a destructive force as anybody in the game. As we saw during the buildup to that career-defining moment, Kermit can bang. He better be banging on Wednesday night. Estrada doesn't go away.

"I've been through bad car accidents. If a car hitting another car can't knock me out, how can a man my own size? I've been jumped in gang fights by six or seven guys. If a group can't beat me down, how can one boxer?" Estrada said.

Estrada took the past year off after his solid showing against Sugar Shane. Estrada could have fought for midlevel money, but he passed. He waited for another big fight against an established name. That's what he now has on Wednesday night.

Two of the four headliners of last April's ESPN pay-per-view card are now meeting up against each other. The winner will be back in title contention. The IBF is calling this an eliminator for a mandatory challenge. Now I don't trust the IBF as far as I could throw the stack of FBI files on them, but I do know that the winner of this fight would be an attractive match for whoever is champ at that time.

For Cintron, this win would get him back on the path that seemed to be so clearly laid out. Margarito was too much too soon. Some fighters are just better after they get that first loss out of their system. Some guys never are the same.

For Estrada, a win would confirm what many boxing insiders feel about him. He is a tough guy with enough skill, and more than enough will, to be in against anybody.

Estrada said, "If I had an 11th and 12th round against Sugar Shane, it would have been different. That's all I kept thinking about after that fight. I always explode in the 11th and 12th."

For the record, this is a 12-round fight on Wednesday. It's an advantage Estrada feels very good about.

"Every time I came after Shane in the later rounds I would hear him take a deep breath," he said. "It was like he was saying, 'Oh crap, here he comes again.' I don't go away."

No, he doesn't go away. That may just be the key to this fight. What will Cintron do when his big-punch power doesn't faze Estrada? What will the man nicknamed "The Killer" do when he isn't killing off the pressure of Estrada?

I don't know the answer. I can't wait to find out. After watching Audley Harrison waltz his way to the end of his career on this past "Friday Night Fights," I'm simply looking forward to seeing two guys who intend to hurt each other.

Or as Estrada simply said, "I've never been scared to fight!"

He does have onions, doesn't he!

Joe Tessitore is the blow-by-blow announcer on ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights."