By Matt Richardson at ringside
Photos: Sumio Yamada
WBC Super Flyweight champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (46-1, 38 KO’s) was widely considered to be the best fighter in boxing when he entered the ring on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. When he left the ring later in the night, however, his title, status and unblemished professional record were all gone. Gonzalez lost a shocking 12-round majority decision against Thailand’s Srisaket Sor Rungvisai on scores of 114-112 (twice) and 113-113. The scorecards were roundly booed but the scores masked what had turned into a surprisingly excellent fight.
Gonzalez was shockingly knocked down in the first round, rocked throughout and badly cut over his right eye. But he continued to plow forward, employing a mix of boxing and brawling that had the MSG crowd roaring but often left Gonzalez bruised and bleeding. Rungvisai (42-4-1, 38 KO’s) was right there with him, often giving as good as he got but as the fight proceeded into the middle rounds and the knockdown got further and further into the rearview mirror, he appeared to slow enough for Gonzalez to take advantage.
By the penultimate round, Gonzalez’s face had turned into a crimson mask. Blood obscured his vision but he was still effective to both the body and head. Rungvisai took a vicious pounding in the final round as Gonzalez came forward with a series of textbook punches, almost all of which landed. Rungvisai appeared spent and referee Harvey Dock was monitoring the fight closely to see if there was an opening to stop the fight but it was Rungvisai, surprisingly, who came back with one final combination in the last ten seconds of the fight that had Gonzalez on the defense.