Monday Morning Cornermen, Feb. 26 – Takeaways from ‘Superfly2’ and More

In this new section of The Sweet Science, we step back and take a critical look at the fights that took place on the previous weekend, we compare our own previews with the way the actual fights went on, and we take your opinions and questions (along with those of special guests) to create a final analysis to another weekend of boxing. Follow us every Monday at #MMCatTSS and @TSSboxingnews   

Who Can Tame Srisaket Sor Rungvisai?

After two victories over Nicaragua´s Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez and his most recent win against the scrappy Mexican titlist Juan Francisco Estrada, the obvious question at ringside is: who has what it takes to stop the surge of WBC titlist Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, aka Wisaksil Wangek? The Thai fighter earned a hard-fought victory over Estrada thanks largely to the power of his fists, even though the defeated fighter (who claims to have won the bout) showed great footwork, great technique and a lot of courage. But Sor Rungvisai’s punches carried dynamite in both hands, and he managed to shake the Mexican with almost every combination, being the indisputably stronger fighter in the ring even though he did miss an inordinate number of punches due to Estrada’s defensive prowess and movement.

Sor Rungvisai established himself easily as the man to beat in his category, and now he holds the key to some of the best matchups in the lower divisions. A duel against Japan’s Naoya “Monster” Inoue, unbeaten in 15 bouts with 13 stoppages and owner of the WBO super flyweight belt, would be a terrific main event anywhere in the world. Seeing Sor Rungvisai risking his belt in a unification bout against Jerwin Ancajas (29-1-1, 20 KOs) of the Philippines and owner of the IBF trinket would be another huge event. And last but not least, a fight for all the marbles against the IBF flyweight titlist Donnie Nietes (pictured) would also be huge, should the Filipino fighter decide to make the jump in weight. For now, Sor Rungvisai has indicated that he will offer Estrada a rematch, but his old foe “Chocolatito” is holding a ticket for the same trip. Time will tell which road he will choose in his quest to reach the top of the pound-for-pound rankings that have seen him surge in the past 12 months.  – J.J. Álvarez

Nietes Becomes “The Other Asian Guy” To Keep An Eye On  

If there is one takeaway that we can draw from the “Superfly2” card it is that Thailand’s Srisaket Sor Rungvisai is here to stay. A year after his irruption on the big-time boxing world with his first win over Roman Gonzalez, he captured the attention of casual and hardcore boxing fans alike, and catapulted himself as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. But there is no doubt that with his brilliant victory over Argentina’s Juan Carlos Reveco, that Donnie Nietes was the one who advanced the most on Saturday. Nietes (41-1-4, 23 KOs) has flown under the radar for a long time thanks to his reticence to fight in the US and the long shadow cast by his countryman Manny Pacquiao, but he has had an extraordinary career in Asia, with his only defeat being as a visitor against Indonesia’s Angky Angkotta (who weighted 6 pounds over the limit in their fight way back in 2004). After a very long winning streak after that understandable setback, his demolishing stoppage of Reveco should give his career the push that he needs to position himself above other emerging Filipino fighters such as Genesis Servania and Jerwin Ancajas, and to finally emerge as the favorite to inherit the crown of the most successful Asian fighter of all time. And if this happens after a spectacular win in an eventual bout against Wangek/Rungvisai, his goal will be surely achieved. – Diego M. Morilla

McWilliams Arroyo Upsets Cuadras – and Surprises Everyone Else

Very few people gave Puerto Rico’s McWilliams Arroyo a chance to win his fight against Mexico’s flashy Carlos “Prince” Cuadras, a former champion in the 115-pound division and with a large resume under his belt. But Arroyo not only destroyed the forecast that indicated that his two-year layoff was simply too long, but he also overcame his lackluster and potentially career-wrecking loss against “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, by then the undisputed champion, both at the division and the P4P level, in April of 2016. Energetic, with great technical skills and a solid defense, Arroyo stormed out of his corner to meet Cuadras in a no-holds barred fight at the Forum in Inglewood. Cuadras was unable to capitalize on his role of the slight favorite to claim any kind of advantage, and finally surrendered the initiative and then the fight itself to his Caribbean foe. This win puts Arroyo on the verge of another world title bout opportunity. But the most striking takeaway from this fight is that Cuadras failed to show an effective tactical plan after training with the noted Abel Sanchez for their first fight together. And to top it all off, Arroyo chose the same day to put on display some abilities that he had not shown before, even during moments in which his career itself was in danger. – J.J. Álvarez

For Brian Viloria, Retirement Becomes the Wisest Option

Four years ago, Brian “Hawaiian Punch” Viloria (38-6-0, 23 KOs) was shining in the ring with his ability and power, a unique charisma, and a couple of belts (WBO and WBA super flyweight) around his waist. But then Mexico’s Juan Francisco “Gallo” Estrada cut him down to size and took his two crowns by split decision in April of 2013. Viloria came back with a string of four wins, but in October of 2015 he succumbed against the power of Nicaragua’s Román González in a ninth-round stoppage loss. And now, a devastating loss against an unknown Azerbaijan native in Artem Dalakian (16-0-0, 11 KOs) puts Viloria, 37, at the gates of retirement after what amounted, to many observers, as one of the easiest challenges of the night. Viloria has been endowed with a gift of gab that has not yet been affected by the punishment he has received in the ring, and has expressed an interest in becoming a TV commentator. After his poor showing against Dalakian, there is no doubt that this is the right moment to reevaluate his career choices. One more fight could be too much for him. – J.J. Álvarez

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