All the chapter 997 did was show the character strengths of Zoro and Sanji. I’ve literally seen people say that this is a message that Oda hates Sanji or some nonsense, but all it was was him simply showcasing the characters of these two individuals.
Zoro’s character is about his strength, leadership, and desire to win. These are his strongest character traits.
That’s why you see him one shot Apoo, steal the antibody, threaten Queen, and cry out about fighting Kaido. He’s the man that dreams of being the world’s strongest swordsman, the guy that wants to surpass Mihawk. His character embodies the stoic badass archetype.
Now does that mean that Sanji isn’t strong in his own right? No, but strength has never been the core of Sanji’s character. Sanji’s dream is to find the All Blue, because he can make seafood with fish from all over the world. He’s role on the ship is of a cook, he creates food in order to help others. So much so that he is willing to feed his enemies and save a family that treated him like shit. He is chivalrous and would rather get his ass beat before he kicks a woman.
So naturally if he thought he saw a woman being sexually harassed he would rush in headfirst to save her, not even thinking if it was a trap. Because that’s the type of guy Sanji is. He is a good guy and because of this people sometimes take advantage of his kindness. This is what Judge was talking about when he was shit talking him to Luffy. But as Luffy says, this is the very thing that makes him such a lovable character.
Zoro isn’t Sanji and Sanji isn’t Zoro. Sanji admittedly has more goofy moments, he’s not the guy that splits a mountain in half with his kicks. But he doesn’t have to be, he’s his own character and if you judge every Sanji scene by comparing him to Zoro, you will never appreciate Sanji for what he is.
Ultimately, every straw hat occupies a unique position on the crew. While Sanji has many similarities with Zoro and is part of Luffy’s monster trio, you cannot expect Sanji to be Zoro, because if Sanji was Zoro, then there would be no point in Zoro’s character.
Lastly, Oda doesn’t write this series to gratify the powerscaling headcanons of a few hardcore fans and you shouldn’t read the series thinking that this is his main intention. It’s not.