Just a couple of weeks following his life-changing win over former pound-for-pound king Roman Gonzalez, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai will have to repeat the feat in order to prove it legit. According to a report from ESPN, the WBC has just ruled that Sor Rungvisai must give Gonzalez an immediate rematch following a request from Gonzalez’s co-promoters Teiken and K2.
Sor Rungvisai was able nick a majority decision win over Gonzalez on the undercard of Golovkin-Jacobs with official scores of 114-112, 114-112 and 113-113, while many observers felt that Gonzalez, despite suffering an early knockdown, did enough to earn the win. Both Scott Christ and myself separately scored the fight 114-112 in favor of Gonzalez for Bad Left Hook.
In reality it was a genuinely close and grueling battle in which Gonzalez sustained two significant cuts caused by accidental head-butts (which is pretty common in fights between orthodox and southpaw fighters). But in this case the WBC uses those cuts as their one of their main justifications for ordering and immediate rematch between Gonzalez and Sor Rungvisai, stating in their ruling:
"The WBC Board of Governors considers that due to the extraordinary fight, which was extremely close, and considering that the WBC championship rules regarding accidental head butts were not used, but most importantly, considering the public demand to witness once again a great match between these two great fighters, the WBC has granted the request by unanimous vote to order the rematch between Sor Rungvisai and Gonzalez," WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman said in a statement.
Now these supposed rules regarding accidental head-butts are where things get pretty interesting. Apparently there is a WBC rule that states that if one fighter sustains a cut by way of an accidental head-butt, the uncut fighter is to be penalized a point. Now I have never, ever seen such a thing happen, and apparently for good reason. ESPN’s Dan Rafael mentions that this obscure rule is not one that’s used in the United States — except for in this particular instance, it would appear.
It’s a little hard not to infer that the WBC is playing favorites here, but considering it really was a good fight and a debatable decision, I won’t get too bent out of shape over this. I will say, however, that if the shoe was on the other foot, you could bet your bottom dollar Sor Rungvisai wouldn’t be getting this immediate rematch.
That aside, the second installment of Gonzalez-Sor Rungvisai isn’t expected to come off until later this year as both fighters need some time to lick their wounds. Doctors recommend at least two months rest for Gonzalez’s cuts to heal properly and K2 promoter Tom Loeffler mentions to RingTV that the Fall will likely be the landing spot for the rematch.
Of course this WBC ruling also has a trickle-down effect. Carlos Cuadras was slated to become the mandatory challenger for the Gonzalez-Sor Rungvisai winner, but because of the WBC’s ruling, and because Gonzalez and Sor Rungvisai will be healing up for the next couple months, the WBC instead orders Cuadras to take on Juan Francisco Estrada for a vacant interim title. And the sanctioning body is more than pleased with itself...
"The WBC is very pleased with this ruling that will provide a series of great fights in the (junior bantamweight) division, which is very important for boxing and for the boxers," Sulaiman said.
Tell me, fans, what do you make of these rulings?