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Yafai picks Estrada to beat Srisaket Sor Rungvisai

By Scott Gilfoid: IBF 115 lb. champion Kal Yafai (23-0, 14 KOs) is picking former flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada (36-2, 25 KOs) to easily beat WBC super flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (44-4-1, 40 KOs) this Saturday night on the SuperFly2 card at the Forum in Inglewood, California. Rungvisai vs. Estrada will be televised on HBO Boxing.

Yafai, 28, thinks Estrada will have some shaky moments early on against the powerful Rungvisai, but then he’ll take over the fight and win an easy decision by out-boxing him. Yafai believes that Rungvisai is a limited fighter that can be out-boxed with ease. Since no one has done that to Rungvisai, you’ll have to take Yafai on his word about this theory of his about Rungvisai being someone that can easily be beaten. Yafai hasn’t exactly been chomping at the bit to get a chance to fight Rungvisai, and that suggests that he knows what kind of fighter he is.

In looking at Rungvisai’s workout video this week, he looks drained of water, and not as healthy looking as he did for his last 2 fights against Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez. Rungvisai beat Gonzalez in his last 2 fights, and the wins have made him popular with HBO network in the States. However, it’s possible that Rungvisai might have over-trained a bit in getting ready for the fight with Estrada. It would be understandable if Rungvisai did overdo it a bit in training camp, as he’s suddenly become very popular in the U.S because of his 2 big wins over Chocolatito. The success might have led to Rungvisai trying to work harder in training for Estrada instead of sticking with the training regimen that he’d done in the past for his fights.

”I think Estrada will have to come through a few rocky moments, but he should win on points,” Yafai said to ”I could make an argument for Sor Rungvisai, but I think Estrada can outbox him. He’s got good skills and a good right hand, which will work well against the southpaw. I just think it’s Estrada’s time and he’ll do a number on him. The biggest things Sor Rungvisai has are freakish power and pressure. I think he can be easily out-boxed,” Yafai said.

I don’t want to disagree with Yafai, but Rungvisai has won his last 17 fights since his loss to Carlos Cuadras in 2014. I saw that fight, and it looked to me like Cuadras was gassed and done by the 8th round. Rungivsai was getting to Cuadras and nailing him with hurtful looking shots. Cuadras was bailed from what likely would have been a knockout loss when he suffered a cut in the 8th round from a clash of heads with Rungvisai. I can’t really count that as a loss for Rungvisai, because of the fact that fight went to the scorecards after 8 rounds, and with the way he had taken over the fight.

If the 2 fighters faced each other today, I have little doubt that Rungvisai would beat Cuadras like a drum and either stop him or badly out-point him. Of course, if the fight went to the scorecards, it would depend on the location of the match whether Rungvisai would win or lose. His fight with Cuadras in 2014 took place in Mexico. I think that fight would have been scored either a draw or a win for Rungvisai if it had taken place in a neutral country like the U.S.

Other than Rungvisai’s loss to Cuadras, his only other losses occurred VERY early in his career in 2009 and 2010 in defeats to Kenji Oba, Yushin Yafuo and Akira Yaegashi. Rungvisai also had a draw against Sean Patavikorngym. That was the only fight of Patavikorngym’s career. The only one of that group of fighters that is still in the sport of boxing is Yaegashi, and he’s a journeyman at this point. He’s not someone that you can throw in the ring with Rungvisai and expect him to beat him again.

The 27-year-old Estrada didn’t look that great beating Carlos Cuadras last September at SuperFly1. Let’s be real here. The only reason Estrada won that fight was because Cuadras got tired in the second half of the contest. Cuadras has been dealing with stamina problems since his fight with Rungvisai in 2014, and the issues have gotten worse for him in the last 4 years. Estrada still barely beat Cuadras even with him being tired in the second half. The judges all had the fight scored close at 114-113, 114-113 and 114-113. Estrada loses to Cuadras if he doesn’t fade. That much is clear. If Cuadrad didn’t tire out, Estrada loses a lopsided 12 round decision, because the first half of the fight was one-sided.

Rungvisai puts a great deal of pressure on his opponents with the way he stalks his opponents around the ring. I’m not too sure that Estrada is going to be able to handle that pressure without him falling apart like an old car. Rungvisai has knocked out 15 of his last 17 opponents since 2014. The only fighters that weren’t knocked out by him were Roman Gonzalez in their first fight in March 2017, and Zoren Pama in their match in September 2014. Like the Rungvisai-Cuadras fight, the Rungvisai-Pama fight was stopped after the 7th round due to a cut. Rungvisai won the fight by a 7th round technical decision.

Estrada has only 3 fights under his belt since moving up to super flyweight. Cuadras is nowadays little more than a 6-round fighter. He’s not a reliable gauge of what’s in store for Estrada when it comes to him getting inside the ring with Rungvisai on Saturday night on HBO. The pressure that Rungvisai is going to be putting on Estrada will be immense, and I don’t think he’s going to react well to it.
Estrada will do well initially against Rungvisai in the early going. However, once Rungvisai starts putting the pressure on Estrada in going into his Golovkin-mode, it’s going to turn into a real beat down. Rungvisai will be hurting Estrada with every punch he throws, and I see this fight endingly badly for the Mexican fighter. Rungvisai will wear Estrada down and stop him.

Yafai has been complaining about wanting to get a big fight. He needs to lean on his promoter Eddie Hearn to match him up against the winner or loser of the Rungvisai vs. Estrada fight. Yafai is coming off a lackluster 12 round decision win over his #1 challenger Sho Ishida on October 28th. Yafai had a chance to fight former WBO super flyweight champion Naoya Inoue, but he opted not to take the fight. That match would have answered a lot of questions about whether Yafai can cut it at the top. But now that Inoue is gone, Yafai can always push his promoter Eddie Hearn to set him up with the winner or loser of the Rungvisai-Estrada fight.

Yafai can find out how easy it is to out-box Rungvisai. Since Yafai thinks it’s easy to out-box Rungvisai, he can show it’s done to the other fighters in the super flyweight division. Of course, if Yafai is wrong about his theory about Rungvisai being easily beatable, then I suppose he’ll end up in the same position Roman Gonzalez was in his 4th round knockout loss to the Thailand fighter last September. There were a lot of boxing thinking it would be easy for Gonzalez to defeat Rungvisai in their rematch. Unfortunately for Gonzalez, he found out that he wasn’t up to the task, as he crumbled quickly in the 4th round in getting dropped twice and stopped.

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