Roman Gonzalez: I want a rematch with Rungvisai
By Dan Ambrose: Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez saw his star dimmed last Saturday night in a bloody and grueling 12 round majority decision defeat at the hands of Srisaket Sor Rungvisai at Madison Square Garden in New York. Gonzalez dealt with a large cut over his right eye from round 3, and the leaking blood certainly didn’t help Gonzalez’s efforts to try and turn back the threat from the fighter from Thailand. Gonzalez (46-1, 38 KOs) wants a rematch with Rungvisai (42-4-1, 38 KOs) as soon as possible.
The opinion on the results of their fight last Saturday was mixed with boxing fans. While some boxing fans felt that Gonzalez had done enough to deserve the victory, other fans thought that Rungvisai was the clear winner. He had knocked Gonzalez down in round 1, and landed the more effective blows during the fight.
Besides Riungvisai’s heavy punches being a problem for Gonzalez, his head was an even bigger problem. Rungvisai was constantly coming forward with his head first and making contact with the face of Gonzalez. Over and over again, Gonzalez was hit in the face with the crown of Rungvisai’s head during the first 6 rounds. The referee took a point away from Rungvisai in round 6 for his unintentional head-butts, but it continued to be a problem for Gonzalez for the remainder of the fight.
The final punch stats seemed to make a case for Gonzalez deserving the win. According to CompuBox, Gonzalez landed 441 of 1013 punches for a connect percentage of 44. That’s a very high connect percentage. For his part, Rungvisai connected on far fewer punches in landing 284 of 940 for a 30% connect percentage. The judges scored the fight 114-112, 114-112 for Rungvisai, and 113-113 even. What likely made the judges score the fight in Rungvisai’s favor was the knockdown in round 1 of Gonzalez, and the harder shots he was landing during the fight.
“I’m a little dinged up,” Gonzalez said. “I thought I won the fight. I want an immediate rematch. I want to get my title back.”
Gonzalez and Rungvisai were the co-feature attraction on the Gennady Golovkin vs. Daniel Jacobs card last Saturday. Like a lot of boxing fans suspected, the Gonzalez-Rungvisai fight was the far more entertaining contest than the main event between Golovkin and Jacobs. However, Gonzalez didn’t look like he had his heart into slugging with Rungvisai eough for him to win many of the rounds.
We didn’t see the same effort from Gonzalez that we’d seen from him in his previous contest against Carlos Cuadras last September. It could be that the punishment that Gonzalez took in the Cuadras fight took something out of him, because he was not fighting at the same high level against Rungvisai as he had in that fight. Gonzalez was mostly fighting hard in the last minute of every round against Rungvisai instead of the full 3 minutes. This made it hard for the judges to give Gonzalez the victory without them ignoring the impressive work that Rungvisai was doing in the first 2 minutes of each round. Gonzalez had to take a lot of heavy shots when he did come forward, and it looked like he worn from the blows in the final 4 rounds from rounds 9 to 12.
Even if Gonzalez does beat Rungvisai in the rematch, he’s not going to be the same dominant force in the flyweight weight class that he was in the 112, 108 and 105 pound divisions where he previously held world titles. Gonzalez appears to be too small to be fighting at super flyweight. We saw that in Gonzalez’s previous fight against Carlos Cuadras last September, and we observed the same thing last Saturday in his fight against Rungvisai. Gonzalez lacks the frame and the punching power to be fighting guys at super flyweight.
If Gonzalez doesn’t understand that he’s too small for the super flyweight division soon, he could shorten his boxing career and he could wreck his stature in the sport. Gonzalez came into the fight ranked #1 in the pound-for-pound ratings. That rating is now obviously gone with his defeat to Rungvisai. If Gonzalez loses to Rungvisai a second time, which is a very real possibility, then he’ll likely be dropped from the pound-for-pound ratings.
Gonzalez will likely lose a lot of boxing fans with another loss. But more importantly than the loss of ratings, Gonzalez is taking a lot of punishment at super flyweight to the head, and this could shorten his pro career. Gonzalez was such a dominant fighter at flyweight and light flyweight.
It seems like a smarter thing for Gonzalez to move back down to one of those weight classes where his body is more suited. If Gonzalez wants to fight Rungvisai and Cuadras again, he should insist that they melt down to 112 or 108 to fight him. It’s not that Gonzalez would be trying to gain an advantage over those two fighters. It would be more of a case of Gonzalez fighting in the correct division for his body size. You wouldn’t see Rungvisai or Cuadras moving up three divisions to fight at featherweight against the likes of Oscar Valdez. They would obviously be way out of their element in fighting Valdez based on him being bigger than them. Gonzalez has moved up three divisions since he turned pro, and that’s just too much. He’s not a super flyweight in terms of his body size and he never will be. The sooner Gonzalez realizes that the better it would be for him.
“I want to thank the fans in Thailand for sending me encouragement and I was able to do it because of all of their encouragement,” Sor Rungvisai said after the fight. “At this point, after winning this fight, I believe I can take on anyone, including a rematch with him. I have to admit he is a very good fighter and he would not give up.”
It’ll be interesting to see if Rungvisai winds up facing Cuadras now instead of Gonzalez getting that fight. The idea coming into last Saturday’s fight was that Gonzalez would beat Rungvisai and then face Cuadras in a huge rematch later in 2017. That rematch has now been put on hold with Gonzalez’s loss. It would make sense for Rungvisai to face Cuadras next while Gonzalez lets his cut over his right eye heal slowly. There’s no point in Gonzalez facing Cuadras now given his loss to Rungvisai. Cuadras beat Rungvisai by an 8 round technical decision in 2014.
That was a very competitive fight that saw Cuadras ‘win by the scores 78-73, 77-74 and 77-75. The best of those three scores was the 77-75 score in this writer’s opinion. The fight was stopped in round 8 due to Cuadras suffering a cut over his left eye from a clash of heads. Rungvisai was giving him a lot of problems with his pressure and big power shots. Cuadras couldn’t flurry on Rungvisai the way he did against Gonzalez because he was too powerful. It’s not likely that Cuadras will take the fight with Rungvisai. I think he’ll wait for Gonzalez to face Rungvisai in a rematch, and then see what happens with that fight. Rungvisai is too dangerous, and Cuadras looked bad enough last Saturday night in winning a controversial 10 round decision over David Carmona.
Gonzalez should abandon his thoughts about a rematch with Rungvisai and instead move back down to flyweight where he can fight guys his own size. There’s no point in him giving up size to a guy like Rungvisai, because he wouldn’t do the same thing by moving up to featherweight to face a guy much bigger than him like Oscar Valdez.