By Allan Fox, first uploaded on Boxing News 24.
WBC super flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (43-4-1, 39 KOs) was too powerful for former 4 division world champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (46-2, 38 KOs) in stopping him in the 4th round in a crushing 2 knockdown victory at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Gonzalez was knocked down hard in the 4th round from a left to the head. Moments later, Rungvisai finished the badly hurt 30-year-old Gonzalez with a right to the head that put him down flat on his back. The fight was immediately halted at that point by the referee, and the medical team was called in the treat Gonzalez. The official time of the stoppage was at 1:18 of round 4.
“I knew I was going to knock him out in this fight. I can fight whoever. I’m not scared of anyone,” said the 30-year-old Rungvisai.
It was clear from round 1 that Gonzalez didn’t have the size and power to compete with Rungvisai. The sound of Rungvisai’s punches landing to the head and body of Gonzalez was scary. The difference in power between them was significant to say the least. Gonzalez did not have the armament to fight a guy Rungvisai on even terms.
Gonzalez initially was trying to box Rungvisai at the start of round 1, but it was no use. Rungvisai had too much size and reach for Gonzalez to be effective on the outside. When Gonzalez was at a distance, Rungvisai was still hitting him with big shots. So, Gonzalez quickly abandoned his plan of boxing Rungvisai starting in round 2 and he began to slug with him just like he did in the first fight on March 18. The difference this time was Gonzalez wasn’t throwing combinations like he had in the first fight, and he wasn’t throwing to the body. Gonzalez at least was able to slow down Rungvisai’s work rate by throwing lots of punches, staying in close and hitting him to the body. Tonight, Gonzalez didn’t do that. He fought at a slower pace, allowing Rungvisai to tee off on him with big power shots and totally dominate him.
In round 3, Gonzalez was taking a viscous shellacking from Rungvisai, and he didn’t look at all confident. He looked like a fighter who was taking a beating and wasn’t enjoying himself. Almost every significant punch that landed in the 3rd round was from Rungvisai. At point, Gonzalez was caught with a huge right hand from Rungvisai, and snapped his head sideways. That shot showed clearly that Gonzalez was not going to land much longer in taking the punishment that he was taking. He didn’t have the long arms to stand on the outside and get the better of Rungvisai the way that Carlos Cuadras did in beating him three years ago. Gonzalez had to stand in close with him and trade. It wasn’t going to work.
Gonzalez didn’t last long in the 4th round, as he getting smashed by Rungvisai with tremendous shots to the head and body. It was a mismatch and it was obvious that the fight would end soon. Sure enough, Rungvisai dropped Gonzalez had with a left to the head. Gonzalez was badly hurt. He pulled himself up off the canvas and was checked out by the referee and allowed to continue. The referee Tom Taylor didn’t look like he wanted to allow Gonzalez to continue, as he saw that he was bad shape and wasn’t going to be able to survive the round. Rungvisai was too powerful, and he was not going to stop throwing big shots for nothing. Once Gonzalez engaged with Rungvisai, he was hit with big shots to the head and body. Gonzalez then hit the deck after getting nailed with a left to the head. Gonzalez was flat on his back on the canvas, badly hurt and not in the position to continue.
In hindsight, it was a bad idea for Gonzalez to take the rematch with Rungvisai. Gonzalez took too much punishment in their fight on March 18, and it was a bad decision on his part to come back 6 months later to face Rungvisai again. It’s not that Gonzalez didn’t have the boxing skills to be in the ring with Rungvisai. The real reason why it was a bad idea was the size and power difference. Rungvisai looked like a lightweight tonight after he rehydrated. He looked a lot heavier than Gonzalez. When you add the weight advantage to the existing power advantage that Rungvisai had, Gonzalez never stood a chance in the fight. He shouldn’t have taken the rematch. Gonzalez’s last 2 fights against Rungvisai and Cuadras showed clearly that he doesn’t have the size to fight at super flyweight. This was Gonzalez’s 4th division that he’s fought at since starting his career 12 years ago at minimumweight. He just kept moving up in weight each time, seeking more challenges. Gonzalez was fine at flyweight. That’s where he should have stopped. Instead, Gonzalez made a reckless decision to move up to super flyweight, and he paid for it dearly in taking a beating from Cuadras and Rungvisai. Gonzalez beat Cuadras last year, but he took enormous punishment in the process. That’s a fight that should have told Gonzalez to move back down to flyweight. If Gonzalez had listened to his body, he would have moved back down to 112, and he could have avoided the 2 fights against Rungvisai.
Rungvisai’s mandatory challenger is Juan Francisco Estrada, who won tonight in beating Carlos Cuadras by a close 12 round unanimous decision on the undercard. It was a close win by Estrada in winning by the scores 114-113, 114-113 and 114-113. Estrada might be too small and weak for Rungvisai, who looked looked like a bantamweight tonight against the smaller Gonzalez.
Rungvisai vs. WBO super flyweight champion Naoya Inoue is the fight to make. Estrada is a good fighter, but I think the boxing world would rather see Rungvisai face Inoue in a unification fight. That’s the much better fight right now. The U.S fans got a chance to see Inoue tonight wipe out Antonio Nieves on the Rungvisai vs. Gonzalez undercard. The interest in a Inoue vs. Rungvisai fight will surely be there for the boxing world in the U.S and worldwide. Estrada, 27, can wait for Rungvisai and Inoue to fight each other before he gets his mandatory title shot.
It’s unclear where Gonzalez goes from here. He’s take some terrible career-shortening punishment in his last 3 fights against Cuadras and Rungvisai. I’m honestly not certain whether Gonzalez can even be successful at this point if he moves back down to flyweight. The punishment he took in his 2 fights against Rungvisai may effect him when he fights in the future at flyweight. Gonzalez seems to be a pretty strong-willed type of fighter. He might not agree to the idea of moving down to flyweight. He might opt to stay at super flyweight to go after one of the other champions in Inoue or Khalid Yafai. I think it would be a bad idea for him to do that. Yafai is another fighter that looks like a lightweight when he rehyhdrates. Inoue is just incredibly powerful like Rungvisai, and very skilled. Gonzalez might be too small and weak for Inoue too. The best thing for Gonzalez to do would be to move back down to flyweight, but he failed to make that decision after his loss to Rungvisai the first time. It’s possible that Gonzalez has a hard time making the 112lb division. If that’s the situation, then he should probably retire.