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Dougie’s Friday mailbag (SuperFly2 is here! Hallelujah!)

WBC 115-pound titleholder Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (left), promoter Tom Loeffler (center) and Juan Francisco Estrada (right) pose with THE RING title at the final press conference for "SuperFly2." Photo by Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos / 360 Promotions
23
Feb

SUPERFLY2 IS FINALLY HERE!

Hello Doug,

Superfly 2 is here and I am stoked! These guys bring the pain with their guaranteed action fights. I saw you on the 10 Count mentioning that these Superfly cards will become a signature staple on HBO and I couldn’t be more excited and also thankful to Chocolatito for essentially being the pioneer of this current superfly obsession.

I’m going with Srisaket Sor Runrivisai in the main event over Juan Estrada because of his size and power and his current position as the king of the hill, and the boost of confidence he must be riding in on since his KO victory over the once p4p #1- Chocolatito. Regardless of who wins, I think this fight is surely giving us fight-of-the-year fireworks.



Caudras has become one of my favorite fighters and I think he pulls off the win against Arroyo. I felt he beat Estrada (think I’m in the minority) in their close fight on superfly 1. Arroyo is no pushover, but I think Caudras has the skills to get the win. It’ll be interesting to see if there’s a difference in Caudras, particularly his gas tank, now that Abel Sanchez is training him up in Big Bear.

A few questions for you:

-Will there be a stream for the fights that are not on HBO on the Ring website?

– Are we close to finally getting a venue and ticket info for Canelo-GGG 2?

– Is Callum Smith in for a tough fight with Holzken?

Thanks again Doug! – Andrew, Chula Vista CA

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Andrew.

I don’t think Callum Smith will have a difficult time with Nieky Holzken, who isn’t bad at all for a veteran kickboxer with only 13 professional boxing matches under his belt. Smith’s decided edges in experience (amateur and pro), size and age should be too much for the K-1 and Glory champ. (Outside of the boxing ring, say at a bar somewhere, I’d probably favor the Dutchman, who also has Muy Thai experience.)

Regarding the Canelo-Golovkin rematch you (and every other boxing fan in the world) should have known long before yesterday’s formal announcement that the Cinco De Mayo return bout would land at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The chances of this fight going to New York City or anywhere in Texas were slim and none (“and Slim left town,” as Don King used to say).

There will be a live stream of the SuperFly2 undercard on RingTV.com, starting at 3:45 p.m. PT. The main event of the live stream is the WBA flyweight title bout between two-division champ Brian Viloria and undefeated Artem Dalakian (which should begin around 5:30 p.m. PT).

I saw you on the 10 Count mentioning that these Superfly cards will become a signature staple on HBO and I couldn’t be more excited and also thankful to Chocolatito for essentially being the pioneer of this current superfly obsession. There will definitely be a SuperFly3 this year and I’m really excited about the main event of that future show (probably a matchup up of the winners of the Sor Rungvisai-Estrada and Cuadras-Arroyo fights) and about the potential new-comers (to the U.S. scene) that could be in the co-featured bouts. Tom Loeffler, of 360

Daigo Higa poses with Brian Viloria and Donnie Nietes at the SuperFly2 final presser. Could the Japanese sensation face one of these fabulous Filipinos on SuperFly3? Photo / Yuriko Miyata

Promotions, wants to bring over unbeaten WBA 115-pound titleholder Kal Yafai (THE RING’s No. 5-rated junior bantamweight) from the U.K. to face a name fighter (maybe Chocolatito) and undefeated WBC flyweight Daigo Higa from Japan (THE RING’s No. 2-rated 112 pounder) was at yesterday’s final press conference to express his interest in fighting in American and facing the winner of one of Saturday’s flyweight title bouts (Viloria-Dalakian or Donnie Nietes-Juan Carlos Reveco). There’s no reason why SuperFly can’t be an ongoing HBO Boxing series that occurs two-to-four times a year.

I’m going with Srisaket Sor Runrivisai in the main event over Juan Estrada because of his size and power and his current position as the king of the hill, and the boost of confidence he must be riding in on since his KO victory over the once p4p #1- Chocolatito. Sor Rungvisai is indeed the bigger, stronger, harder punching man in tomorrow night’s excellent matchup, but in “El Gallo” he’s facing an experienced, versatile technician with an iron will. And Estrada is in his prime.

Regardless of who wins, I think this fight is surely giving us fight-of-the-year fireworks. That’s what I envision, Andrew.

Caudras has become one of my favorite fighters and I think he pulls off the win against Arroyo. I do too, but he’s got to be at his best and he’s got to box a smart fight. If he tries to knockout Arroyo (as he’s boasted in pre-fight interviews), he could play right into the Puerto Rican contenders educated fists.

I felt he beat Estrada (think I’m in the minority) in their close fight on superfly 1. I’m not mad at you for thinking that. I had the fight even in rounds, and thus gave the fight to Estrada by one point due to the knockdown he scored (same as all three official judges). But most of press row thought Estrada won handily.

Arroyo is no pushover, but I think Caudras has the skills to get the win. It’ll be interesting to see if there’s a difference in Caudras, particularly his gas tank, now that Abel Sanchez is training him up in Big Bear. We will find out tomorrow night.

 

STACKED SHOW

Hey Doug, hope all is well. I’m really excited to be going to the Superfly card this weekend. The first installment was my favorite live card of the year and Estrada-Cuadras was my favorite live fight in a while. I really enjoyed Estrada’s poise, patience, technical skill and gradual breaking down of the spirited and athletically gifted Cuadras. That night before the ref waved Chocolatito off I immediately started thinking Rungvisai vs. Estrada. Thank the Boxing gods it’s here.

I’ve been watching bouts of both men in the build up and this is what I get from it. Estrada is clearly the more skilled boxer. He’s a complete fighter and for me has the prettiest offense in Boxing when he gets going from a punch technique standpoint. His combinations and counters are wonderful. He also has great intelligence and awareness in there and I think this guys him the edge. He’s been buzzed before but seldom hurt however Rungvisai breaks guys. Their spirit and their chins. There’s a reason Chocolatito (despite probably winning fight I) already looked a defeated fighter entering fight II. I’m not a trainer but I felt Chocolatito (who is a great body puncher) had Rungvisai hurt a few times to the body and I’ve heard Estrada talk about his body being wide open so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him investing downstairs early. I really think he can make this fight his if he’s able to slow down Rungvisai early and the Thai seems like he can take a bat to the head so I think Estrada will be wise to take advantage of this “weakness” he sees.

How do you see the match playing out stylistically? Similar mayhem to Rungvisai’s usual fights or similarly measured as Estrada’s usual bouts or my personal view of a perfect storm which is a bit of both?

Cuadras-Arroyo is a solid fight. I just wish Arroyo had been more active and I’d be really excited about this one. Nietes-Reveco figures to be an interesting one. Has any champ fallen under the radar more than Nietes? I’ll be honest I’ve seen very little of him but am I right in saying he’s held a world title for more than 10 consecutive years (across 3 divisions), is unbeaten in 15 years, has faced some solid guys and won a ring title. Pretty damn good credentials. Then we’ve got Viloria-Dalakian which I’d imagine will be fun. Viloria is in boring fights about as often as Mayweather was in fun fights.

Sorry for the long-winded nature of my message. Enjoy the fights and hope to see you there! – Chris Smith

I’m going to get to The Forum early and I suggest that you do the same, Chris. Don’t be a stranger if you see me. This is going to be one hell of a show.

I’m expecting fast-paced, high-intensity chess matches with Viloria-Dalakian, Nietes-Reveco and Cuardras-Arroyo, and all-out war with Sor Rungvisai-Estrada (mainly because the Thai southpaw will force it).

You are correct about Nietes’ credentials. He’s been a world titleholder for 10 years over three weight classes (and he held THE RING’s 108-pound belt), and he hasn’t lost in 14½ years. Not. Too. Shabby. I think you’re going to enjoy watching him. He’s a complete fighter and an experienced practitioner, just like his opponent. I think they’re going to go tit for tat until the late rounds, when I expect Nietes to take over. I also wish Arroyo had fought at least once since his competitive loss to Gonzalez April 2016, but I still expect the World Amateur champion to give Cuadras all he can handle.

I’m really excited to be going to the Superfly card this weekend. You should be.

Photo by German Villasenor

The first installment was my favorite live card of the year and Estrada-Cuadras was my favorite live fight in a while. Same here! #StubHubMagic!

I really enjoyed Estrada’s poise, patience, technical skill and gradual breaking down of the spirited and athletically gifted Cuadras. That fight was boxing at its best – two complete, versatile former titleholders in their primes going at it for 12 rounds for the right to face a badass champion. It was satisfying blend of contrasting ring styles and mentalities.

That night before the ref waved Chocolatito off I immediately started thinking Rungvisai vs. Estrada. Thank the Boxing gods it’s here. Hallelujah!

I’ve been watching bouts of both men in the build up and this is what I get from it. Estrada is clearly the more skilled boxer. I agree.

He’s a complete fighter and for me has the prettiest offense in Boxing when he gets going from a punch technique standpoint. His combinations and counters are wonderful. Agreed. Estrada is arguably the most talented boxer from Mexico (with all due disrespect to Canelo Alvarez).

He also has great intelligence and awareness in there and I think this gives him the edge. Yeah, a very slight edge in my opinion, but if I have to make a pick in this wonderful matchup I’m going with Estrada by decision.

He’s been buzzed before but seldom hurt however Rungvisai breaks guys. Their spirit and their chins. He might be the best in boxing at grinding down his opposition since the 2013-2015 versions of Chocolatito and GGG.

There’s a reason Chocolatito (despite probably winning fight I) already looked a defeated fighter entering fight II. Yeah, he gave everything he had in the first fight and knew in his heart of hearts that he had nothing left for the rematch. Meanwhile, Sor Rungvisai was more prepared and motivated than he was for bout number one.

I’m not a trainer but I felt Chocolatito (who is a great body puncher) had Rungvisai hurt a few times to the body and I’ve heard Estrada talk about his body being wide open so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him investing downstairs early. I agree that Gonzalez was able to hurt Sor Rungvisai a few times to the body but he had to pay a price every time he got in close enough to thump the Thai challenger’s midsection. Chocolatito’s face was a mess by the middle rounds of the fight (and, yes, I know that headbutts and forearms are part of the reason). Estrada will have to be very careful if he intends to attack Sor Rungvisai’s body.

I really think he can make this fight his if he’s able to slow down Rungvisai early and the Thai seems like he can take a bat to the head so I think Estrada will be wise to take advantage of this “weakness” he sees. We’ll see. I think he might be better off sharp shooting at defending beltholder’s head as he moves on him. Maybe it’s better to be the smarter boxer than the stronger fighter against Sor Rungvisai.

How do you see the match playing out stylistically? Similar mayhem to Rungvisai’s usual fights or similarly measured as Estrada’s usual bouts or my personal view of a perfect storm which is a bit of both? I think it might go like Sor Rungvisai’s somewhat controversial title loss to Cuadras in 2014, only Estrada will be better at setting traps as the Thai badass advances on him. It’s the cobra (Sor Rungvisai) vs. the mongoose (Estrada). I think the Mexican challenger has to find the right mix of boxing tactics (stick-and-move, counterpunching, pressure, fighting off the ropes, etc.) and strategy to outpoint Sor Rungvisai.

 

ROLLING WITH THE THAI FIGHTER

Hey Doug, just wanted to throw in my thoughts on Super Fly 2.

In my opinion, Reveco and Arroyo are both live dogs in their respective fights. Nietes and Cuadras are both elite fighters who are well rounded and experienced, but I haven’t forgotten the tremendous effort Arroyo displayed against Chocolatito a couple years back.  (The sole of one of his shoes came loose and it didn’t phase him.)  Also, I don’t think people realize how accomplished as an amateur this guy was.  And oh, that left hook is nasty.  As for Reveco, I admit I didn’t know of him till this fight was announced, but after watching his most recent fight on youtube (against a Thai fighter who was also Nietes last opponent) I now know Reveco ain’t no pushover.  He’s a sharp counter puncher who does great body work and he can hang tough when things get hairy.  Not an easy out for anyone, including the great Donnie Nietes.

As for the main event, I may be going against the grain a little on this one but I think Rungvisai will beat Estrada.  Yes, Estrada has the better boxing ability with the footwork, jab and the ability to make adjustments, but I don’t think it’ll matter in the end.  Maybe my judgment is clouded after the Thai fighter crushed my beloved Chocolatito in their rematch, but I just think Rungvisai is an absolute beast.  He might have the best chin in the game, his pressure is intense, and his hands are heavy like bricks.  His durability and lack of fear also make him a deceptively dangerous counterpuncher; he forces risky exchanges cuz he knows he can dish it out and take whatever comes back.

Sometimes us boxing fans get a little caught up in the pure boxing skill. In the case of Saunders vs Lemieux or Groves vs Eubank, it seems like savvy beats savagery every time, but that’s not always the case. Rungvisai is a different animal. He’s lived in the streets and he knows what true hunger is. I believe his two fights with the little legend have boosted his confidence to an all time high, and a supremely confident destroyer like that is a tall order for just about anyone. I think Estrada–who could easily be in the top 10 p4p–will eventually succumb to that physical and mental pressure and get broken down by Rungvisai.

I expect you’ll be at this one live? If so I’m very jealous. Enjoy the fights Doug. – Jack

I will be there, Jack. But don’t be jealous of me, I’ve got to work! I’ll be writing on deadline, editing and posting stories.

I agree that sometimes will beats skill (and the truth of the matter when that happens is that the guy defined as “the puncher” or “pressure fighter” actually has equal or greater technique than the guy defined as “the boxer”). And I know Sor Rungvisai came up very hard. However, Estrada hasn’t had it easy, either. Neither man is going to be f__king around in that ring tomorrow night.

In my opinion, Reveco and Arroyo are both live dogs in their respective fights. I agree 100%.

Arroyo nails Chocolatito with a right uppercut. Photo / Naoki Fukuda

Nietes and Cuadras are both elite fighters who are well rounded and experienced, but I haven’t forgotten the tremendous effort Arroyo displayed against Chocolatito a couple years back. (The sole of one of his shoes came loose and it didn’t phase him.) Good memory. I was impressed with how he handled Chocolatito’s suffocating pressure and volume punching.

Also, I don’t think people realize how accomplished as an amateur this guy was. Arroyo was an Olympian and a world amateur champion.

As for Reveco, I admit I didn’t know of him till this fight was announced, but after watching his most recent fight on youtube (against a Thai fighter who was also Nietes last opponent) I now know Reveco ain’t no pushover. Nope, he’s an experienced badass just like Nietes, and he was competitive in his three losses (to Brahim Asloum back in 2007 and to Kazuto Ioka in 2016 – in his opponents’ home countries).

As for the main event, I may be going against the grain a little on this one but I think Rungvisai will beat Estrada. I don’t think you’re going against the grain at all. Most of the boxing insiders I’ve spoken to are picking Sor Rungvisai to win. I think Estrada has pulled slightly ahead in the odds for the fight in recent days due to late money from Mexico being wagered on him, but a slight majority of fans and media favor the Thai destroyer. And who can blame them?

 

SUPERFLY2 AND THE WBSS

Hey Doug,

I hope life’s treating you well. Man, I am so looking forward to Superfly 2, a great birthday treat for this boxing fan. However, I seem to be in the minority in picking Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. The guy is a bona fide badass, a sheer monster at 115 and as good and experienced as Estrada is, I can really see the Thai imposing himself on him. If there is one nagging little doubt though, there is still just a tiny part of me that thinks Chocolatito might be better than SSR pound-for-pound and that 115 was a bit more than he could chew. Whatever happens though, I am expecting a really good fight. As with recent top level fights such as the WBSS, those fights might not feature end-to-end minute-to-minute action like an Arturo Gatti fight, but everything is done to such a high level that the fights end up being compelling (not that there’s a shortage of action either, Gassiev-Dorticos was just awesome!). Also, even though Inoue’s bantamweight fight might not be official yet, will SSR-Estrada be for the ring title?

Also, with regards to the last WBSS semi-final, that fight comes with no small amount of intrigue. It’s a shame that Juergen Braehmer had to pull out, he’s just the type of slippery old S.O.B that would have given the still not-quite-there yet Smith. I don’t know a lot about the replacement, Nieky Holzken apart from the fact that he was a kickboxing champion. He could get blown out or he could make for a competitive fight, but hey, that’s why they fight the fights. I just hope it delivers the same quality as all the other matchups.

Lastly, did you know about Raymundo Beltran’s immigration status? I don’t think the broadcast team at his fight mentioned it once…

Just a couple mm’s to round off:

Gassiev and Usyk vs prime David Haye, Evander Holyfield, Marco Huck (not the faded version Usyk fought) and Dwight Muhammad Qawi

All the best. – Hatau in Sheffield

I think Holyfield and Qawi beat Gassiev and Usyk via close but unanimous decision in excellent fights. And I believe that Gassiev and Usyk would defeated Haye and Huck (Murat might stop Hayemaker late) in entertaining bouts.

Regarding Beltran, sometimes broadcasters get so much into the human interest story that they lose sight of the fight.

I don’t know what to expect of Holzken but I doubt that he will pose the difficulty that Braehmer would have to Smith.  

I seem to be in the minority in picking Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. Really? Everyone I know is picking Sor Rungvisai. I feel like I’m in the minority in picking Estrada, but maybe I’m not.

The guy is a bona fide badass, a sheer monster at 115 and as good and experienced as Estrada is, I can really see the Thai imposing himself on him. I wouldn’t pass out from shock if that happened.

If there is one nagging little doubt though, there is still just a tiny part of me that thinks Chocolatito might be better than SSR pound-for-pound and that 115 was a bit more than he could chew. That’s the one big question that I hope is answered on Saturday – is Sor Rungvisai truly the monster that he looked like in his rematch with Chocolatito, or was Gonzalez burnt out from his nine-year title run over four weight classes and several hard fights? I think Gonzalez was at his best at 108 pounds. He still had his form at flyweight, but his body began to break down after his 40th or 41st bout and he was clearly overextending himself at 115 pounds. So, did he just knock off a quickly fading veteran? The truth probably is somewhere in-between. Sor Rungvisai stopped a talented Japanese boxer names Yota Sato for the WBC title in 2013, and he gave Cuadras all the versatile Mexican contender could handle in his technical decision title loss in 2014, and blasted a still-serviceable Jose Salgado in 2015, so it’s not like he’s a one-hit wonder. He was world class before he got his first shot at Gonzalez.   

Whatever happens though, I am expecting a really good fight. Yes, I’m expecting an action fight that is also compelling because of the world-class technique and ring savvy that will be on display.

As with recent top level fights such as the WBSS, those fights might not feature end-to-end minute-to-minute action like an Arturo Gatti fight, but everything is done to such a high level that the fights end up being compelling (not that there’s a shortage of action either, Gassiev-Dorticos was just awesome!). Shootouts and slugfests are fun but quality boxing matches are also entertaining, especially when they are hotly contested.

Yours Truly with THE RING title at the final presser for SuperFly2. Photo / Yuriko Miyata

Also, even though Inoue’s bantamweight fight might not be official yet, will SSR-Estrada be for The Ring title? Hell yeah, man! Didn’t you see me at the final press conference? I was preaching from the pulpit, spreadin’ the good word from the Bible of Boxing.

I know Inoue hasn’t officially moved to 118 pounds but all my Japanese sources tell me the move is imminent and that The Monster, who walks around at lightweight, probably won’t stay at bantamweight very long (they believe that his best form will come at 122 or 126 pounds). And if Sor Rungvisai and Caudras aren’t worthy of THE RING title nobody is.  

 

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer

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