By Keith Idec
Juan Francisco Estrada came to fight Saturday night, but it wasn’t enough to beat the man, who beat the man, who beat Estrada.
Thailand’s Srisaket Sor Rungvisai took the hardest shots Estrada landed, regularly connected with his straight left hand, did good body work and won a majority decision in their 12-round fight for Sor Rungvisai’s WBC super flyweight title. Sor Rungvisai (45-4-1, 40 KOs) won on the scorecards of judges Cathy Leonard (115-113) and Steve Morrow (117-111), while judge Dave Moretti scored the action even (114-114) in the main event of HBO’s “Boxing After Dark” tripleheader from The Forum in Inglewood, California.
Mexico’s Estrada (36-3, 25 KOs), the mandatory challenger for Sor Rungvisai’s title, took the Thai southpaw’s power well and boxed effectively at times. Estrada still fell short in his bid to become a world champion in a second division.
According to unofficial CompuBox statistics, Sor Rungvisai connected on just five more overall punches than Estrada (194-189). CompuBox credited Sor Rungvisai for landing more power punches (186-147), but had Estrada landing more jabs (42-8).
“I was very, very confident that I was winning,” Sor Rungvisai said. “But more importantly, I wanted to bring this belt back to Thailand. … I’ll fight anybody at 115 and I’ll fight Estrada again.”
Sor Rungvisai made the second defense of the WBC 115-pound championship he won from then-unbeaten Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez last March 18 at Madison Square Garden. The 31-year-old Sor Rungvisai, who knocked out Gonzalez in the fourth round of their rematch September 9, had a much tougher time with Estrada.
The game challenger believes he did enough to take the title from Sor Rungvisai.
“The people are the judge and you can hear them, that they saw me win,” said Estrada, who wants a rematch. “I thought I won the whole time out. The judges saw it that way. That’s what it is. But I felt I won the majority of the rounds. But the people saw what happened.”
Prior to Sor Rungvisai’s victory Saturday night, Estrada had lost only to Gonzalez in the past 6½ years. Gonzalez edged Estrada to win a unanimous decision in their 12-round fight for the WBA light flyweight title in November 2012.
Perhaps sensing he needed a knockout, Estrada pressed Sor Rungvisai throughout the 12th round. Both boxers landed numerous power punches to the head and body in those action-packed three minutes, when Sor Rungvisai appeared to tire.
Sor Rungvisai continued to touch Estrada with his straight left in the 11th round. Estrada kept coming forward, though, and landed two solid shots to the body that set up a straight right to Sor Rungvisai’s head.
The ninth round featured several vicious exchanges, but neither fighter appeared affected by the flush shots his opponent landed.
Sor Rungvisai tripped Estrada, who went to the canvas with 1:48 to go in the eighth round. Once Estrada got up, he landed several right hands.
Sor Rungvisai rallied later in the eighth by drilling Estrada with multiple straight left hands.
Estrada connected with a hard right hand in the seventh round, only to have Sor Rungvisai fire right back with a straight left that backed up Estrada.
Reiss warned Estrada early in the sixth round for hitting Sor Rungvisai low. Late in the fifth, Reiss admonished Estrada for shoving Sor Rungvisai to the canvas.
Sor Rungvisai consistently connected with his straight left hand during the final minute of the fifth round. Estrada countered with two right hands late in the fifth.
Both of Sor Rungvisai’s gloves touched the canvas 32 seconds into the fifth round, but Reiss ruled that Estrada pushed him down.
Sor Rungvisai clocked Estrada with a right hand and then landed two short left hands, all during the final 10 seconds of the fourth round.
After taking some hard shots in the second round, Sor Rungvisai landed several flush lefts of his own in the third round. Estrada’s most successful sequence of the third came when he landed a short right hand and then stung Sor Rungvisai with a left uppercut.
Sor Rungvisai went down to one knee with 25 seconds to go in the second round, but that trip to the canvas seemed to be caused by an accidental clash of heads. Reiss rightly didn’t count it as a knockdown.
Estrada connected with multiple right hands over the final 20 seconds of the second round.
Sor Rungvisai’s fast hands served him well during the first round, when he let his left hand go and kept Estrada at a distance.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.