The Stubhub Arena in Los Angeles will feature one of the best fight cards of 2017 this weekend, stacked with the best of the best from the Super Flyweight division.
I have to be honest in saying I thought there would be more bluster around an event which features some of boxings best, Roman Gonzalez, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Naoya “The Monster” Inoue, Carlos Cuadras and Juan Fransico Estrada but I suppose the comedown after the circus (Mayweather Vs. McGregor), as somewhat overshadowed more deserving fight cards in the weeks that followed.
On Saturday night we have what can be considered two genuine 50/50 encounters, the first being Roman Gonzalez in his attempts to reverse a loss to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and of course the Mexican gunfight of Carlos Cuadras Vs. Juan Francisco Estrada in a Super Flyweight title Eliminator.
Rungvasai came into the aforementioned contest against a fighter many claimed to be boxing royalty, the Pound 4 Pound king with little more suggested than a punchers chance, someone who would give a good account before ultimately succumbing to Gonzalez’ brutality, but that’s not what exactly happened,
The Thai fighter stood up to the tirade of attacks doing so by returning fire in one of the years most memorable in taking a majority decision victory from the judges, a few raised eyebrows ensued, the king had fallen from his throne in what can be considered by some an upset.
Just under six months following the contest, the two are ready to do it all again this time without the assumption that the fight will one sided.
On the night of the 18th March, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai introduced himself to a wider audience, a blood and guts winning performance against a fighter who had really been troubled up to that point.
I scored the fight in favour of Gonzalez at the time of the fight, still to this day in the belief that he won the contest but for the first time we had witnessed his crown slip giving this fight more of an edge than the first, the question is, of course, can Rungvasai replicate or will Gonzalez rectify?
LAST MAN STANDING…..
A fight that has somewhat gone under the radar is potentially an all out Mexican war between two warriors in every sense of the word. Once beaten Carlos Cuadras will look to derail the nine fight winning streak of two-time flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada no easy task but one in which will be tackled head on.
Once beaten Carlos Cuadras will look to derail the nine fight winning streak of two-time flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada which is no easy task but one in which will be tackled head on.
Both men share a loss at the hands of Roman Gonzalez, both will engage to exact revenge on the Nicaraguan should he also come through his duel with Rungvasai.
This fight can be nothing short of a war of attrition between two proud warriors of the squared circle where I don’t envisage much of a backward step from either.
Up until being halted in his decision loss to Gonzalez, Mexico City’s Cuadras had been on a run which spanned 35 fights beating the likes of Luis Concepcion and ‘Chocolatito’ Conqueror Rungvasai in his run as WBC Super Flyweight champion.
Estrada, on the other hand, had lost twice, once to Roman Gonzalez and the other to Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr which he later avenged. The 27-Year Old has taken WBO/WBA flyweight titles on route to a career total of 35-2 as he like Cuadras hopes to be the last man standing, taking with it Mexican bragging rights.
THERE’S A MONSTER ON AMERICAN SOIL….
Elsewhere on the fight card, US Audiences will be able to see first hand the man who is considered the divisions best in Japan’s Naoya “The Monster” Inoue, who will make his American debut against Cleveland’s Antonio Nieves.
Inoue is one of boxing’s most exciting, enticing fight fans with his relentless barrage of attacks leaving all but two opponents unable to hear the final bell.
Twelve fights under his belt, Inoue is already a two weight world champion with sights set on another move north of his current division.
No secret, Inoue wanted to be the man to hand Gonzalez his first loss but that achievement has been tarnished to the point where some are already speculating that he may look elsewhere for his next challenge, although many of us know that looking past an opponent can sometimes be hazardous.
Antonio Nieves comes into the contest as very much the unfancied dance partner in this particular scenario, Nieves holds a record of 17-1 losing his unbeaten streak to Nikolai Potapov last time out, so it goes without saying that he will be eager to get back in the win column, a victory over Inoue would provide the biggest of upsets but he will be in the knowledge that he has been picked to make Inoue look good to a profitable audience.
WORLD SERIES OF BOXING KICK STARTS THIS WEEKEND…
Europes biggest night will take place at the Max Schmeling Arena in Germany where WBO King Oleksandr Usyk will kick start the World Boxing Series against Marco Huck.
Usyk, one of the favourites of the tournament format has so far been fast-tracked accordingly due to his illustrious amateur career, effortlessly replicating the form in winning a world title in just ten fights against a man in Krzysztof Glowacki who was at that time the divisions best.
It was a statement of intent from the Ukrainian who crowned himself the divisions ruler, standing in his way of making a successful opening to the World Series is a former champion, Marco Huck.
The German who lost his previous visit to a boxing ring against Marius Breidis was one of the lowest seeds in the tournament, which is sure to act to fire his intentions of causing a mild upset on the night.
He holds a record of 40-4-1 but a loss here could preempt suggestions that his best days are far removed with retirement a genuine possibility
All in all, it amounts to a great weekend for all as we look to put the debacle of Mayweather and McGregor in the rear view mirror to concentrate on more deserving contests.