Boxing: Card of the Year – SuperFly
This Saturday, HBO will be live from the StubHub Center in Carson, California. K2 Promotions, along with Teiken promotions will be presenting what most people are calling the best boxing card of the year, SuperFly. This card includes 5 of the top 6 Super Flyweights in the world. Headlining this unbelievable card will be a rematch for the WBC Super Flyweight title as one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez tries to get his title back from Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.
Also on the undercard, Carlos “Principe” Cuadras will square off against Juan Francisco Estrada in a WBC Super Flyweight eliminator, with the winner to fight the winner of the main event. And finally, the US will finally see the “Monster” as Naoya Inoue makes his US debut as he steps into the ring to defend his WBO Super Flyweight title against Antonio Nieves.
Chocolatito will be entering the ring with a record of 46-1 with 38 stoppages, but the one is the reason we are having this rematch. In most people’s minds, Chocolatito won that fight, but unfortunately, the 3 judges are the only opinions that matter. Chocolatito has dominated at every level, starting from the bottom at the minimum weight limit of 105 and winning a world title at every level up. Some of the names on his hit list include Yutaka Niida, Akira Yaegashi, Edgar Sosa, Brian Viloria, and both men fighting in the eliminator, Cuadras and Estrada. Is this level too big for him to hold his effectiveness?
Rungvisai (43-4-1 with 39 KOs) pulled off the big upset by beating Chocolatito back in March. This was the 2nd time he’s won the WBC Super Flyweight belt and him knocking down Chocolatito in round 1 didn’t look like a big deal at the point, but it propelled him to the win. His other significant win was against Yota Sato and he also previous fought, and lost, to Cuadras, 3 years ago. He is hoping to prove that the 1st fight wasn’t a fluke. He does have the power to hurt Chocolatito, but he couldn’t stop him the 1st time, will he have to win again? Or will the cards once again go his way?
While most people, including me, thought Chocolatito won the 1st fight, it doesn’t take away from the fact that his power didn’t seem to carry too well at this weight class. If Rungvisai connects with a couple hard shots, it may not even have to go to the cards. However, I think Chocolatito is the superior boxer and he will fight smart. At lower weights, he could slug it out when needed, but I think he does what he did the 2nd half of the 1st fight and out boxes and wins his title back. So, with that said, my pick is Gonzalez by unanimous decision.
Cuadras is one of the toughest fighters you will see in the ring. He has a record of 36-1-1 with 27 stoppages. He fought both of the guys in the main event and beat Rungvisai while putting up a good effort against Chocolatito that was clearly seen on Chocolatito’s face after. He is a guy that if you are not elite, I’m picking him to beat you and straight out, out-tough you. He’s aggressive and comes forward and he also has a long reach and uses his jab well. He is truly one of the elites of the division and likely will win a world title again.
Estrada comes into the fight with a 35-2 record with 25 stoppages. Unlike Chocolatito and Rungvisai who are 30, and Cuadras, who is 29, Estrada is only 27. In my opinion, he has a higher ceiling than the other 3 because he can still get bigger and move up. This fight will be a true test to see how much he has improved since his loss to Chocolatio, 5 years ago. His wins against Villoria and Giovani Segura were things of beauty. If he can fight like that against Cuadras, I think he wins. This one will be tough. Is he really for an all-out brawl?
This fight could be the best fight of the night. Both guys have pop. Both are not afraid to let their hands go. And most importantly, both are smart fighters. This one could be a classic. If Estrada isn’t ready or if he isn’t as good as I think he is, then Cuadras will show it. This will not be a fight where someone wins with the B or C game. Cuadras will do anything to get his rematch against either guy in the main event for the title. I personally would love to see Chocolatito vs Estrada part 2 and I think we get it. My pick is Estrada by split decision.
The man known as the Monster, Naoya Inoue, is 13-0 with 11 stoppages. He has power, skill, and he’s only 24. When he beat Adrian Hernandez in only his 6th career fight to win the WBC Light Flyweight title, the warning signs for the rest of the division and neighboring divisions rang off loudly. It took just 2 fights later for him to game another world title when he beat Omar Narvaez to win the WBO Super Flyweight title that he currently has now. This will be his 6th defense of the title and all boxing fans have the thoughts and dreams in their head of him eventually fighting any of the 4 in the top 2 fights.
Antonio Nieves (17-1-2 with 9 KOs) typically fights at 120 lb bantamweight limit, but he’s coming down for a chance at Inoue’s title. He’s coming off a loss to Nikolai Potapov from March in a tough split decision. He has a chance to shock the world if he can pull off this one. This is his 1st title fight and he could jump on everyone’s radar with an upset victory on a big stage like this.
With all due respect to Nieves. I think Inoue is exactly what his nickname is, a Monster. I think he tries, and will, put on a show for the California crowd. With as much as I gushed about the 4 fighters in the main and co-main event, I think Inoue has the potential to be better than all of them. He will get dissected more in the US, but I think he’s good enough to win this division, and move up a couple divisions after. Inoue stops Nieves in the 5th and waits for the giant potential unification, probably sometime next year.
For a true boxing fan, this card could not be much better. It is literally a hardcore boxing fan’s dream. For most casual boxing fans, it’s about the heavyweights and the big names like Mayweather and Pacquiao. These fights and the fights that they will lead to are fights that boxing fans have been waiting on and anticipating for a long time now. Add to that it comes 1 week before what is probably the most anticipated fight in the sport, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, and this is the perfect time to be a boxing fan. Just sit back and enjoy the fights.