In conjunction with Tom Loeffler and K2 Promotions, the Network of Champions will broadcast “SUPERFLY” live on Boxing After Dark (10:15 ET/ 7:15PT), featuring the rematch between all-time great flyweight Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (46-1, 38KOs) versus Srisaket Sor Rungvasai (42-4-1, 38KOs). The fight world witnessed an instant classic at Madison Square Garden in March, as Gonzalez lost his WBC super flyweight title (and pound-for-pound supremacy) via controversial split decision.
No one was split on the breathtaking action this fight produced– which demanded a rewind. It is only right they'll do it again before next week's superfight between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
What's really crazy is that the telecast kicks off with a bout between two absolute machines in Carlos Cuadras (36-1-1, 27KOs) vs. Juan Francisco Estrada (35-2, 25KOs). Both are badasses and former world champions who greatly challenged Gonzalez in losing efforts. They meet in a WBC title eliminator, which means they'll get a shot at the winner of Rungvisai V Gonzalez II.
But the really exciting part about “SUPERFLY' for the hardcore fan will be the U.S. debut of Japan's WBO super flyweight champion Naoya “The Monster” Inoue (13-0, 11KOs) vs. Antonio Nieves (17-1-2, 9KOs). The most exciting little fighter to hit the scene since Manny Pacquiao, Inoue appears to be a scary rendition of a classic “Pac-Man” at 115lbs. Since former great flyweight champion Brian Viloria is also on this card, its not inconceivable that he'll face Inoue next on another massive HBO telecast in 2018.
If the scenarios play out on Saturday night the way I think they will, then we'll be headed for a superfight featuring Roman Gonzalez vs. Naoya Inoue next fall. First, let's get into how things should go down at StubHub.
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I seriously enjoyed breaking film down while looking to predict the outcome of these fights. I kinda took the calling of this event as an ode to the 70's, where fighters really bared their souls and exploited passion over greed in place of creed.
“Super Fly” was actually a major blaxploitation hit released in 1972. The movie banged, but it was the soundtrack that really made the film legendary. It's very rare for a movie score to outgross the movie in sales and in actual quality, yet, that's what Curtis Mayfield did. There was a strange triumph in watching a replay of Gonzalez vs. SSR and footage of Inoue, Cuadras and Francisco Estrada against the backdrop of that socially conscious music. Mayfield managed to speak for the ghetto's victims rather than its achievers; in so doing, he spoke to the public at large.
HBO's card is bringing attention to the great injustice of lower weight class unawareness and how special these overlooked and very exciting fighters really are. They say you should forget something new each day, but I'd be remiss if I didn't remind you of just how crazy you'd be to not remember these fights.
Cuadras V Estrada
This is the ultimate pick em fight. Both men are as tough as $2 steaks who bring it for 3:00 of each round. Cuadras has the slight edge in athleticism and mobility, while Estrada is the heavier puncher and more effective aggressor. Attrition has started to get to them, but I'll go with the more consistent Estrada to pull out a tight decision.
Inoue V Nieves
Nietes can claim all that he wants that Inoue is not really a big deal and that the weight loss required of him to make this fight will have no impact: Wrong. Inoue is no one to be trifled with on the scales of any circumstance, as Nietes will find himself in the eye of a hurricane from the opening bell. Sharp, nasty and as incredibly accurate as he is powerful, Inoue will pound and pummel a brave Nieves until the red soaked white towels start flying in the 5th round.
Rungvisai V Gonzalez II
This will be every bit the barnburner the first fight was, but I expect Chocolatito to start faster and finish just the same. He shouldn't bust up as he did in March, which was mainly the result of some excessive fouling by SSR. This is an important fight for Gonzalez to determine just how much tread on the tires there is. After experiencing his first loss, the Nicaraguan legend will be eager to prove the judges made a mistake and give us his best. We will find out if he's actually capable of hurting a super tough opponent at 115– something he has yet to show. The Thai warrior is as tough as they come, but look for a more polished performance from the stylish all-time great. Look for Roman Gonzalez to emphatically recapture his title via gritty 11th round TKO.