By: Sean Crose
The Garden was packed to the rafters that night. Jerry Seinfeld was said to be in attendance, as was who knows how many notables from the worlds of sports and showbiz. There was no mistaking the fact that Gennady Golovkin-Daniel Jacobs was a fight of note. Could Golovkin prove he was all they said he was against an opponent of Jacob’s caliber? That was the question on people’s minds.
Attendance was so close to maxed out that many of us in the media had to report the fight not from ringside, but from a press area high above the action, near the sky boxes. Some complained, though it was admittedly more comfortable up there than it probably was down on the floor. Plus there was no chance of anyone getting splattered by blood or sweat from the combatants.
Ultimately, Golovkin walked away with a decision win. Some, myself included, thought Brooklynite Jacobs had done enough to pool it off, but the fight was too close to be considered a robbery. At any rate, Golovkin proved he belonged in the sport’s upper echelon. There was another bout that evening, though, one that had gone down before Golovkin-Jacobs, which had truly caught the attention of fans and journalists alike.
Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez was often paired with Golovkin on cards as the featured attraction of the co-main event. In the fact, the defending WBC super flyweight champion had been considered by many to be the pound for pound best fighter on earth. Needless to say, shockwaves went through Manhattan that evening when Gonzalez was sent to the mat by Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in the first round of their scheduled 12 round affair. Few expected that to happen walking in to Madison Square Garden that night.
Even fewer expected Sor Rungvisai to walk away with Gonzalez’ belt after the fight had ended. Yet that’s what happened. After a war with the Nicaraguan great, Thailand’s Sor Rungvisai was awarded the victory by virtue of the judges’ cards. Truthfully, I felt that Gonzalez should have gotten the nod. Yet Sor Rungvisai left no doubt in my mind or anyone else’s mind about six months later when he outright knocked Gonzalez out in their rematch. If people didn’t know who sor Rungvisai was before he faced Gonzalez (far too few people know only the biggest names in the lower weight divisions) they certainly did now.
The now highlight reel fighter went on to defend his WBC title successfully three more times before Juan Francisco Estrada finally dethroned him via decision in 2019 after coming up short against Sor Rungvisai the previous year. Since that time, Sor Rungvisai has won three more in a row, thus setting himself up for a fight this Saturday night against undefeated Jesse Rodriguez . At stake? Sor Rungvisai’s old WBC super flyweight title.
Like Sor Rungvisai, Rodriguez is apt to surprise people. He won the WBC title after all, by going up a couple of weight divisions to challenge then titlist Carlos Cuadras. And now he’s facing a Sor Rungvisai who is in his mid thirties and has engaged in some serious competition. What’s more, Sor Rungvisai hasn’t fought since last March thanks to health issues. Still, the 50-5-1 ring vet is healthy and apparently quite fit and ready to attempt to regain his former title. The question now is, can the older fighter teach the 22 year old Rodriguez new tricks when the opening bell sounds at San Antonio’s Tech Port Arena on Saturday?
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