Back in March fans in the west got their first real chance to see Thailand's Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (43-4-1, 39), and he immediately made an impression dropping Nicaraguan great Roman Gonzalez (46-1, 38) inside the opening round, en route to a unanimous decision win. The victory saw Srisaket becoming a 2-time WBC Super Flyweight champion, though saw many dispute the decision, claiming it to have been scored wrong and that Srisaket had gotten away with dirty tactics, due to his use of the head. In the days that followed the bout the WBC ordered a rematch between the two men, and that rematch will take place this coming Saturday.
The win for Srisaket was a huge upset, with the Thai being priced at 13/1 just hours before the fight, and Gonzalez being 1/100 with some bookies. Despite being a former world champion Srisaket was, to many a total unknown. The bout however proved that he was a big, tough, powerful, strong and aggressive fighter who was always going to be a handful for anyone in the division. He was flawed, but a bit of a divisional man monster, and that showed as he seemed to dwarf Gonzalez, who was looking to make his first defense of the title.
For those who missed the first bout Srisaket really is a brutish fighter. He fights at a good pace, though did slow down in the later stages of the bout with Gonzalez, he starts fast, is one of the biggest punchers pound-for-pound and brings intense pressure every time he's in the ring. Despite having a bit of a padded record, as most Thai's do, he does hold notable wins over Yota Sato, Hirofumi Mukai and Jose Salgado, all of whom were stopped by Sriaket and he is a genuine talent.
The Thai's record is marked up, though it should be noted that he actually began his career 1-3-1, losing 3 early career bouts in Japan. Following that start he's gone 42-1 (38) with his only loss being a technical decision in Mexico to Carlos Cuadras, with Cuadras beginning to flag before the bout was stopped. With only that one loss in his last 43 bouts he's a confident fighter and one who will be entering this bout on the biggest win of his career.
When it comes to Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez we really are talking about one of the best little men the sport has seen. He's an offensive monster who has shown his skills around the globe and notched up notable wins from Minimumweight to Super Flyweight, whilst becoming the first ever 4-weight champion from Nicaragua. Fans who understand the lower weight divisions will understand how impressive Gonzalez's record is with wins against the likes of Yutka Niida, Katsunari Takayama, Ramon Garcia Hirales, Juan Francisco Estrada, Francisco Rodriguez Jr, Akira Yaegashi, Brian Viloria and Carlos Cuadras.
Gonzalez is a highly skilled offensive fighter, who uses his offense as his best form of defense. He's throws silky smooth combinations of heavy shots, switches between head and body with easy and looks incredibly smooth in the ring. His movement is fantastic, his power is destructive and he really is a very special fighter. Sadly though as he's moved up to 115lbs we've seen his effectiveness decrease, his shots don't have the same destructive power they used to have and his relatively limited defense has caused the heavier shots of opponents at Super Flyweight to really mark him up and damage his face.
Prior to his first bout with Srisaket Gonzalez had had a poor camp with issues away from the ring, including the death of long term mentor Arnulfo Obando. He, and his team, will have learned from that but given the miles on the clock that Gonzalez has, and the miles added with every round he now fights at 115lbs, it's hard to know just how long he can keep going, despite “only” being 30.
Given the way the first bout went we're expecting something really exciting again here, we're actually expecting a repeat, rather than a revenge, with Srisaket again bullying Gonzalez en route to another win. That will kill any hopes of a show down between Gonzalez and Naoya Inoue, who makes his US debut on the same card, but that's perhaps best for Gonzalez's health if we're being honest.
The Super Flyweight division is arguably the strongest in the sport right now. It features a great selection of talents and is an incredibly deep division with probably the best top 5 and top 10 in the sport today. This coming Saturday we see a number of those top fighters in action with the most notable of those bouts being a potential FOTY contender for the WBC title, as Roman Gonzalez (46-0, 38) takes on former champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (41-4-1, 38) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น].
Whilst fans who have heard HBO fawning over Roman Gonzalez may not have heard of Srisaket the Thai should prove to be the type of fighter that will make for an insane war with Gonzalez, being similar, albeit cruder, to the Nicaraguan great.
As we all know Gonzalez became the first Nicaraguan to become a 4-weight world champion last year when he took a narrow win over Carlos Cuadras, who had actually usurped Srisaket with a technical decision in May 2014. The win over Cuadras saw Gonzalez adding the WBC Super Flyweight title to a resume that had included WBA titles at Minimumweight and Light Flyweight as well as the WBC Flyweight title. It also saw him adding Cuadras' name to a long list of great wins, which include victories over Yutaka Niida, Katsunari Takayama, Juan Francisco Estrada, Francisco Rodriguez Jr, Akira Yaegashi and Brian Viloria.
At the lowest weights Gonzalez was a freakish monster who steam-rolled opponents. He came forward with an ultra-aggressive style and was too strong, too powerful and too aggressive for fighters at 105lbs and 108lbs. As he's moved up through the weights however he has found people who haven't buckled under his aggression, with Juan Francisco Estrada, McWilliams Arroyo and Cuadras all taking Gonzalez the distance in the last 5 years, and they are 3 of just 6 men to last 12 rounds with Gonzalez.
Coming forward with a tight guard, a lot of upper body movement, great combinations and frightening power Gonzalez is a genuine monster, and highly regarded through out the boxing world as one of, if not the, best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet. That talent can only take a fighter so far and now, at Super Flyweight, some question whether or not the naturally bigger and stronger fighters will be too much for the Nicargauan.
In Srisaket we sort of have a poor man's Gonzalez, but a poor mans' Gonzalez who is a genuine Super Flyweight and looks massive at the weight. Not only that but he has took on regional Super Bantamweights, and stopped them, showing that like Gonzalez he can push around and bully naturally bigger men. Like Gonzalez he doesn't go the distance often and has stopped 38 of 41 opponents through his 8 year career. Those stoppages haven't come against the top guys in the sport, but do include wins over Yota Sato, Hirofumi Mukai and Jose Salgado.
On paper Srisaket will likely be written off by some fans who look at his record, and not the fighter. Srisaket has got a number of blotches on his record but began his career 1-3-1, being thrown in Akira Yaegashi on debut and suffering 3 set backs in Japan during an 11 month run. Since that faltering start Srisaket has gone 40-1 (37) and has proven to be a beastly lower weight fight, from a stable that also includes Suriyan Sor Rungvisai.
In the ring Srisaket is a slow stalker but one who never seems to back up, and will pursue his man until they end up being stopped. He's not a man who tends to hear the judges scorecards, and since losing to Cuadras we've seen Srisaket go 14-0 (13), his only non-stoppage being a technical decision win over Zoren Pama, in what was a flat performance from Srisaket after his loss to Cuadras. Notably he has been inactive since the end of August last year and whilst that could be a good thing, it may be a problem with Srisaket typically being a very busy fighter and a 6 month lay off might not be the best of things for him.
We know Gonzalez will start as the favourite here, that's obvious, but if we're being honest we see this as a really competitive bout. Gonzalez' lack of size will be an issue against a man like Srisaket, who is a huge puncher himself, and we'll go out on a limb and call the upset here with Srisaket eventually breaking down the smaller, but more talented, Nicaraguan in the later rounds.
World Title Previews
The biggest fights get broken down as we try to predict who will come out on top in the up coming world title bouts.