Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez is highly motivated to avenge his loss to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai this Saturday night in their fight in the “Superfly” triple-header on HBO World Championship Boxing at the StubHHub Center in Carson, California.
The televised fight card on Saturday begins at 10:15 p.m. ET/PT. Gonzalez, 30, fought his heart out in his previous fight against the bigger, stronger and surprisingly more mobile Rungvisai on March 18 earlier this year on HBO. Gonzalez didn’t have the fire power or the size to get past the Thailand fighter. Gonzalez did do a top rate job of trying to get back into the fight after being dropped with a body shot in round 1, and pummeled with heavy shots from Rungvisai in the half of the contest.
“The rematch with Rungvisai is the most important task in my life right now,” Gonzalez said to RingTV.com. “I know this will be a hard fight but I am training like I have never before and with my new coaches…I believe I will win this fight.”
If Gonzalez loses this fight, then he’s got some serious questions he needs to ask himself. He didn’t look good against Rungvisai and Carlos Cuadras in his last 2 fights. This wasn’t the same Gonzalez hat we’d seen with him when he held titles at minimumweight, light flyweight and flyweight. Gonzalez does have the same aura at super flyweight that he once held in those divisions.
It’s not too late for Gonzalez to swallow his pride and lose 3 pounds to drop back down to 112 lbs. to fight in the flyweight division. Gonzalez would stand a much better chance of dominating at flyweight like he’d been doing if he moves back down. If Gonzalez can beat Rungvisai on Saturday night without taking a beating like he did in their previous fight on March 18, then maybe he can remain in this weight class and do well.
There’s some mouth-watering fights out there at 115 against the Cuadras vs. Juan Francisco Estrada winner and WBO super flyweight champion Naoya Inoue if he can get past Rungvisai. Staying at 115 has its benefits for Gonzalez, but only if he can prove that he’s cut out for this division by winning Rungvisai without taking the beating he took the last time he fought him last March. Just going by the way Gonzalez looked against Rungvisai and Cuadras, I don’t think he’s cut out for this division.
Former four division world champion “Chocolatito” Gonzalez is going to need to do something to handle the head-butting from Rungvisai, because he’s sure to be worked over those illegal tactics all night long. Rungvisai is lethal with his head-butting. He did a number on Gonzalez in cutting him twice and head-butting frequently, causing lumps on his face. Sadly, it was worth it for Rungvisai to use the tactics because it only cost him 1 point deduction. You can say that Ruingvisai deserved to be disqualified for the high number of head-butts in the fight. At the minimum, Rungvisai should have lost 3 points for the head-butting, not 1 point.
The head-butts by Rungvisai changed the whole complexion of the fight. It was an asset that enabled Rungvisai to gain a huge advantage over Gonzalez, and the referee that worked the fight, Steve Willis, did next to nothing to stop the head-butting other than to subtract 1 point from Rungvisai in round 6.
If Gonzalez had been able to hit Rungvisai with low blows 6 times per round to gain an advantage, it’s safe to assume that he would have been docked points and disqualified before long. That’s why it’s hard to understand why head-butting would be allowed. The referee should have done a lot more to police the infractions from Rungvisai to make the fight fairer. Without a good referee working the rematch this Saturday night, you can bet that Gonzalez will be head-butted early and often in this fight, and left a bloody mess before long from the crown of Rungvisai’s head.
Carlos Cuadras fought Rungvisai in 2014, and he was badly cut from one of Rungvisai’s head-butts in the 8th round. The fight had to be stopped due to Cuadras’ bad cut over his left eye. Cuadras was fighting carefully to avoid getting hit with any of Rungvisai’s accidental head-butts and yet he was still cut. Gonzalez wasn’t nearly as careful as Cuadras was in his fight against Rungvisai, which is why he was hit so frequently with his head-butts.
The Gonzalez vs. Rungvisai rematch on Saturday is going to see more of the same things unless the referee does his job to control the head-butts. If Team Gonzalez is smart, they’ll make sure they alert the referee before the fight to keep an eye out on the head-butts from Rungvisai so that the fight outcome isn’t determined by the head-butts rather than the actual combat inside the ring. You have to say that Gonzalez was handicapped partially due to the cuts he sustained during the fight. That should have led to a lot more than 1 point deduction in my opinion. It’s too bad. You hate to see a referee disqualify a fighter for head-butting, but when it gets out of control like the March 18 fight between Gonzalez and Rungvisai was in terms of head-butting, the referee has got to do his job and get control over the fight. It was the Wild West inside the ring last March with Rungvisai letting Gonzalez have it with the crown of his head in head-butting him. Yeah, you can say they were all accidental, but it looked o me like Ruingvisai was lowering his head and charging forward in that style. He needs to learn how not to fight like that. The best way for a fighter to change his fighting style is after he’s disqualified or penalized so frequently that he loses an important fight like this Saturday’s match between Rungvisai and Gonzalez.
Gonzalez came close to getting the win last March in losing by the scores 114-112, 114-112 and 113-113. Gonzalez was making a lot of headway with his body punching in the second half of the fight. The body shots seemed to have more of an effect on Rungvisai than the shots to the head, but Gonzalez mistakenly went away from the body attack in the 11th and 12th rounds, and this enabled Rungvisai to cement his win by using head movement and getting on his bike to elude Gonzalez’s head shots. It was pretty surprising that Gonzalez wasn’t aware that he needed to keep going to the body of Rungvisai, because those were the punches that were getting to him and causing him to weaken his resolve. Once Rungvisai started to move around the ring to try and preserve his win, it was imperative that Gonzalez spear him with body shots that would cause him to stop running, but he failed to do so. That was another missed opportunity on Gonzalez’s part.
The Nicaraguan Gonzalez seems to be a little bit in denial about his loss to Rungvisai, as he still believes that he deserved the win. That’s disappointing that Gonzalez can’t grasp the reality that he was beaten by stronger guy in there last March. It was a fight that Gonzalez could have won if he’d made the right adjustments by boxing and/or going to the body of Rungvisai and sticking to those things, but he didn’t do that. Gonzalez seemed to believe that he could use the same fight strategy that he’d been using when he was fighting in the 105, 108, and 112 divisions. Those were weight classes were Gonzalez was able to get by with his combination punching. His power went a lot further in those divisions than it is at 115, which has a lot of fighters that rehydrate into the 130s. Gonzalez didn’t have the size to stand and slug with Rungvisai in their fight on March 18. Rungvisai had no problems taking the head shots from Gonzalez. The only thing that worked for Gonzalez was the body punching, and like I said, he went away from that in the 11th and 12th rounds.
“I believe that fight was a very difficult fight, but I feel I won the fight,” Gonzalez said. “So it gives me a lot of motivation to keep doing what I do in training camp. This loss showed me a lot and I have faith that God will give me my title back, but before that happens I have to keep training as the challenger I am.”
Gonzalez lost his No.1 pound-for-pound status with his loss to Rungvisai. Beating him in the rematch likely won’t bring that honor back though, as Andre Ward and Gennady Golovkin, two undefeated fighters, are currently in front of Gonzalez. For him to take the No.1 spot again, one or both of those fighters will need to lose and he’ll need to beat Rungvisai and the likes of Carlos Cuadras [again] and Naoya Inoue, both of which are fighting on the undercard this Saturday night.
”I have not fought before is definitely who I am inclined more to fight, but for now I have to win Sept. 9,” said Gonzalez in pointing out that he’d like to fight Inoue for his WBO super flyweight title if he beats Rungvisai on Saturday.
To be sure, a fight between Gonzalez and Inoue would be a huge fight. If they staged the fight in Tokyo, Japan, it would be a really big deal. Inoue is quickly becoming a star at super flyweight. If Gonzalez could beat him, it would be a huge feather to stick in the hat of the Nicaraguan fighter. This isn’t even the best weight class for Gonzalez, and it would show his greatness if he could somehow get past the talented Inoue. But before he can put his attention on the Inoue fight, Gonzalez must get past the dangerous Rungvisai on Saturday night.
Gonzalez needs to make these adjustments for him to have a chance of beating Rungvisai:
• Jab frequently. Don’t let Rungvisai come forward with his head lowered in ramming position. Take a step back to keep from being hit with Rungvisai’s head-butts.
• Use movement
• Attack with an in and out style
• Don’t be stationary. This is important for Gonzalez. He cannot stand in front of Rungvisai and be stationary or else he’ll be sliced to ribbons with his head-butting and hard power shots.
• Work the body as much as possible. Spear Rungvisai with shots when he gets on his bike to try and avoid the body attack
• Alert the referee if/when Rungvisai starts head-butting. Don’t wait until you’re cut multiple times from Rungvisai’s head-butts to finally let the referee know that he’s bending the rules by leading his head.
• Focus on blocking the big power shots from Rungvisai. Gonzalez was hit far too much in his last 2 fights against Rungvisai and Caudras. Gonzalez can’t afford to continue to let that happen, because he’s going to shorten his career if he keeps taking the kind of punishment that he’s taken in his last 2 fights. Rungvisai hits too hard for Gonzalez to allow him to get his shots off.
Cuadras will be fighting against Juan Francisco Estrada this Saturday night in a WBC super flyweight title eliminator. The winner of the fight will be the WBC mandatory challenger to the winner of the Rungvisai-Gonzalez fight. Gonzalez has beaten both Estrada and Cuadras in the past in close fights.
Also on the “SuperFly” Card is WBO super flyweight champion Naoya Inoue defending his belt against Antonio Nieves. This is more of a stay busy fight for Inoue than anything. He’s way out of the class of Nieves. It’s going to be an easy one. The best you can hope for in this fight is if Nieves can take the heavy shots from Inoue and turn the fight into a grueling war. Inoue can be hit, and he doesn’t look comfortable when his opponents make it physical. Inoue is going to lose sooner or later when he faces someone that can take his shots long enough to land their own big punches on his chin.