As a boxing fan, you just live for cards like the one we got on HBO Saturday night, when Srisaket Sor Rungvisai defeated Juan Francisco Estrada in an important and extremely enjoyable main event — and the rest of the night lived up to expectations, too.
Srisaket Sor Rungivsai proved he wasn’t just a one- (or two-)hit wonder in claiming the legitimate junior bantamweight championship via majority decision over Juan Francisco Estrada, establishing that his wins over former pound-for-pound king Roman Gonzalez were no illusion.
You don’t see elite talent + outstanding action like this very often, and it was worth every penny. Pick a round, and most any of them were difficult to score. Estrada played counterpuncher to Sor Rungvisai’s aggression, and it was a classic of the genre.
Sor Rungvisai won the early rounds, Estrada came on in the middle rounds and for the most part, Sor Rungvisai controlled the late rounds. But Estrada won the 12th, one of the best rounds you’ll ever see in boxing. Estrada fought like a guy who need a knockout and went for it, and Sor Rungvisai stood and took it.
Estrada had the perceived boxing advantage coming in, but even though Estrada threw the entire toolbox at Sor Rungvisai, the Thai fighter proved he wasn’t just the bigger man (he was, and it mattered) or the bigger puncher (he was, and it mattered), but a guy who could box beautifully, with great head movement and almost as much variety as Estrada’s endless arsenal.
If you care about technical boxing, or if you care about brawling — either way, you got everything you could’ve dreamed of in this fight This writer scored it 116-112 for Sor Rungvisai, compared to official scores of 114-114, 115-113 and 117-113. The first two are perfectly fine, the third a bit much, but if you had to pick someone to win, Sor Rungvisai was probably the right choice. Rematch, please.
The undercard wasn’t much worse, which is saying something. “SuperFly2” was worth the price of admission.
McWilliams Arroyo claimed the upset victory at 115 over Carlos Cuadras, whose bacne spread to frontne and whose (perhaps-PED resultant) power wasn’t enough to make up for Arroyo’s sharper boxing technique. It was another exhibition of the perfect mix of boxing and brawling, with both fighters hurt at times and swings of momentum comparable, if inferior, to the main event. The Arroyo brothers may not have lived up to expectations so far, but this is about as good as it gets for them.
The crowd booed Donnie Nietes vs Juan Carlos Reveco, but it’s hard to see why. Maybe it started slowly and was relatively one-sided, but both men threw tons of punches and landed plenty. Nietes, a (non-super) flyweight, has been one of the best, most consistent, most prolific fighters of his generation, and he showed his quality with a 7th round technical knockout over a quality contender. He still lacks a marquee win, but if he can find an opponent of remotely his caliber, it’d be hard to pick that person over Nietes. On the other hand, the fight was somewhat disgraceful thanks to the ref not stopping the fight earlier, with Reveco out on his feet in the 6th, still messy in his corner between rounds and ready to (no exaggeration) die before the knockdown in the 7th that led his corner to finally throw in the towel.
(Srisaket Sor Rungvisai lands a right on Juan Carlos Estrada; via)