By Jake Donovan
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez remain on course to make weight ahead of their highly anticipated HBO-televised rematch which takes place September 9 at the famed StubHub Center in Carson, California.
As the WBC super flyweight title is at stake, both boxers have been required to perform 30- and 7-day safety weight checks to ensure they are not losing an extraordinary amount of weight during any point in training camp. The WBC requires that participants are to not weigh more than 10% above the contracted weight at the 30-day mark and no more than 5% above said limit at the 7-day mark.
Sor Rungvisai (43-4-1, 39KOs) tipped the scales at 119 lbs. for the first defense of his second time in possession of the WBC title he wrested in a major upset win over Gonzalez this past March at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Gonzalez (46-1, 38KOs) weighed 119.8 lbs. as he looks to avenge the lone loss of a stellar career that has seen title wins in four weight divisions and worldwide acclaim as high among the very best boxers in the world, pound-for-pound.
The maximum weight any super flyweight can weigh in a WBC-sanctioned bout at the 7-day mark is 121 lbs, rounded up to the nearest whole pound.
Both were also well within the 30-day mark, where neither boxer could weigh more than 127 lbs; Sor Rungvisai weighed 123 lbs, while Gonzalez was at 122 lbs.
Their first fight remains among the very best of 2017, many believing it to be second only to Anthony Joshua’s 11th round knockout of Wladimir Klitschko in their epic heavyweight title tilt this past April. Gonzalez suffered the first knockdown of his career, dropped in the opening round of their HBO Pay-Per-View chief support but rallying back and—in the eyes of many observers—seemingly doing enough to retain his title and unbeaten mark.
The three judges felt different, landing a 113-113 even tally on the scorecard of Waleska Roldan (more infamous these days for her 117-111 scorecard in favor of Jeff Horn over Manny Pacquiao this past July) but losing 114-112 on the respective cards of Julie Lederman and Glenn Feldman.
With the loss, Gonzalez saw his super flyweight come to a close after six months and the only of his four weight divisions in which he failed to lodge a single successful defense. The physically blessed athlete from Nicaragua enjoyed lengthy title reigns at strawweight and junior flyweight before moving up in weight in 2014 to wrest the World flyweight crown from Akira Yaegashi.
Four successful defenses followed before once again moving up in weight last September. The move resulted in his becoming the first boxer ever from Nicaragua to capture titles in four weight divisions, surpassing the late and legendary Alexis Arguello—Gonzalez’ boxing idol—after scoring a spirited 12-round win over previously unbeaten 115-pound titlist Carlos Cuadras.
The result this past March makes that very win come full circle. Cuadras obtained his title in a technical decision win over Sor Rungvisai in May ’14, grinding out six successful defenses before conceding his crown to Gonzalez.
Meanwhile, Sor Rungvisai has peeled off 16 straight wins since the loss to Cuadras—mostly over nondescript competition but of course no victory bigger than the one he managed over Gonzalez in March to become a two-time 115-pound titlist.
Cuadras (36-1-1, 27KOs) has a chance at a rematch of his own agains the winner of the September 9 headliner, as he appears in the opening bout of the HBO-aired tripleheader. The free-swinging knockout artist from Mexico will take on countryman and former unified flyweight titlist Juan Francisco Estrada in a WBC final elimination bout.
There was a little more drama in their weight results, although both were ultimately on the mark. Cuadras was well within the limit, clocking in at 119.9 lbs. Estrada (35-2, 25KOs)—whose flyweight run began as inspiring but was plagued by inactivity and injuries before vacating—barely hit the maximum mark of 121 pounds, benefiting from the 5% overage being rounded up to the nearest whole pound.
The 27-year old former flyweight titlist—who managed five defenses before vacating his belts in 2016 to move up in weight—now has six days to lose six pounds. It’s commonly done at higher weights but could prove an interesting scenario for a super flyweight whose body frame obviously isn’t quite as large.
A potential rematch angle also exists for Estrada, provided both he and Gonzalez come out winners in their respective bouts. The two met in a fever-pitched 12-round war in Nov. ’12, with Gonzalez prevailing by unanimous decision in what marked the final defense of his junior flyweight reign. Both boxers moved up to flyweight soon thereafter, but their paths somehow never crossing despite both owning titles at the weight.
Estrada has managed nine straight wins since his loss to Gonzalez.
Wedged in between the two bouts on the card, the evening’s co-feature offers the stateside debut of unbeaten Japanese wunderkind Naoya “Monster” Inoue (13-0, 11KOs). The prodigious 24-year old talent—who held a junior flyweight belt before moving up two divisions to super flyweight—attempts the sixth defense of his WBO title versus Antonio Nieves (17-1-2, 9KOs).
The WBO does not require 30- or 7-day safety weight checks; therefore any such progress by either boxer remains unreported ahead of Friday’s weigh-in.