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Sor Rungvisai vs Gonzalez II: Fight preview and matchup

The super flyweight division is on display in a big HBO triple-header on Saturday night.

Srisaket Sor Rungvisai

Roman  Gonzalez vs Srisaket Sor Rungvisai Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Record: 43-4-1 (39 KO) ... Streak: W16 ... Last 5: 5-0 ... Last 10: 10-0 ... Stance: Southpaw ... Height/Reach: 5'3" / 63½" ... Age: 30

Thoughts: There was nothing very pretty about Srisaket’s win over Roman Gonzalez on March 18, but he got the job done, at least according to two of three judges in the majority decision verdict.

He dropped Gonzalez in the first round, headbutted him bloody, and all but refused to give an inch over the course of what was a very good fight, something somewhat shrouded in the shock and controversy of the decision.

Can he do it again? His sheer physicality and power give him a good chance to repeat, as those factors were problematic for Gonzalez the first time around. That said, I’ve thought the first fight may have been wrongly scored on the blood on Gonzalez, which was caused by fouls, though I only had it 7-5 in Chocolatito’s favor, anyway.

Roman Gonzalez

Roman  Gonzalez vs Srisaket Sor Rungvisai Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Record: 46-1 (38 KO) ... Streak: L1 ... Last 5: 4-1 ... Last 10: 9-1 ... Stance: Orthodox ... Height/Reach: 5'3" / 64" ... Age: 30

Thoughts: For many, it was tough to see Nicaragua’s “Chocolatito,” revered by most at the time as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, take his first loss controversially. But I said at the time and still believe it was hardly a “robbery,” a narrow, hard-fought bout that Gonzalez wound up on the losing end of, and now he looks to get his revenge.

I thought early on in their first fight, or maybe halfway through or so, that Gonzalez had reached his limit at 115 pounds. He’d had a somewhat tough time with Carlos Cuadras at the weight last September, and then in March, Sor Rungvisai’s ability to deal with Gonzalez’s power and press on gave him problems — as did, of course, the repeated headbutts from the Thai challenger, but that’s life, I guess.

Gonzalez remains a pound-for-pound guy for many, because a majority seemingly believe he won the first fight, and that his accomplishments at 105, 108, 112, and 115 still mean a lot. But for a fighter his size, who has fought up in weight over his career, he is getting a little old, and I did think it was very clear 115 is his cap. Maybe Srisaket is just the wrong opponent for him?

Matchup Grade: A-. What more can you really ask? Gonzalez got the short end the first time in a terrific fight, now he looks to reclaim his title in the well-deserved rematch. They lit it up the first time around, and given that this fight is at the mildly magical StubHub Center, no less should be expected the second time.


  • Naoya Inoue vs Antonio Nieves: Many American fans will get their first look at Japan’s Inoue (13-0, 11 KO), the WBO super flyweight titleholder, and the man who was Gonzalez’s desired target before the upset loss in March. Inoue, 24, is younger and bigger than the two main eventers, a little taller and with more reach, punching power and boxing skill, and has won world titles at 108 and 115. He moved up to super flyweight in 2015 with a stunning KO-2 win over Omar Narvaez, and has defended his title successfully on five occasions. Nieves (17-1-2, 9 KO) might not be much of a challenge. The 30-year-old from Cleveland lost his last fight to Nikolai Potapov in Detroit in March, but the majority felt he deserved the nod in that one, and that he was given a raw deal in a split decision defeat. Still, nothing about his performance that night really suggested he’s much of a threat to Inoue, given Inoue’s record to date. Matchup Grade: D+. It’s great to have Inoue in the States and on HBO, but I’m not confusing this for a good matchup on paper, either. It’s a showcase to bring him to a new audience. Even if you think Nieves deserved the win over Potapov, that doesn’t make him a serious contender.
  • Carlos Cuadras vs Juan Francisco Estrada: Cuadras (36-1-1, 27 KO) remains a strong contender in the division after a loss to Gonzalez last year, but he didn’t exactly blow the doors off when he beat David Carmona in March, either, escaping with a pretty unimpressive 10-round decision. Maybe he just wasn’t up for that fight, but he needs to be for this one, because Estrada (35-2, 25 KO) is the real deal, a former titleholder at flyweight who has moved up in weight to chase bigger fights. The winner of this one is in line for a shot at the winner of the main event, as this is a WBC eliminator. Estrada hasn’t lost since 2012, when he dropped a decision to Gonzalez himself, and in his next fight, he won the WBO flyweight belt from Brian Viloria, going on a strong run ever since. Depending on how hip you want to be, you might argue this as the best matchup on the show, but Cuadras’ showing in March gives me some pause. If he fights here as he did there, Estrada will blow him out. Matchup Grade: B+