As the long-awaited rematch between Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez and Juan Francisco Estrada approaches, Boxing Social’s Luke G. Williams is revisiting, fight-by-fight, the nine-bout series between Gonzalez, Estrada, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Carlos Cuadras, which has provided boxing fans with a 21st Century equivalent of the 1980s Four Kings series… Today he reexamines the controversial contest between Srisaket and Cuadras from 2014…
Carlos Cuadras WTD8 Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (technical decision), May 31, 2014, Mexico City.
The Srisaket Sor Rungivasi story is one of the more remarkable tales in modern boxing. Born into poverty in 1986 (with the birth name Wisaksil Wangek) in the Sisaket province in the northeast of Thailand, Srisaket made his way to Bangkok aged 13 in search of a better life. He picked up a poorly-paid job as a garbage collector in a shopping mall before a chance meeting with Surachart Pisitwuttinan, a former film producer turned boxing promoter, set him on the road to eventual boxing stardom.
Some sources claim Srisaket fought around 11 contests under other names before his ‘official’ professional debut in 2009. Whatever the truth of that claim, his early days in the pro ranks were inauspicious. His ‘official’ bow saw the then 22-year-old TKO’d in three against future Japanese three-weight world titlist Akira Yaegashi. After five fights, Srisaket’s unimpressive resume read 1-3-1.
Amazingly though, the powerful southpaw then went on a 26-fight winning streak, including 25 stoppages, lifting the WBC super-flyweight title along the way courtesy of an eighth-round TKO of Yota Sato in a wild brawl in his home province in 2013.
Srisaket lost the WBC title in this, his second defence, against Carlos Cuadras on the Mexican’s home turf. Cuadras – then 29-0, 24 KOs – proved himself a formidable talent in what was his first excursion into true world class. Utilising impressive upper body movement, the 25-year-old Mexican frustrated Srisaket in the early rounds, evading his charges and peppering him with hard counters. Whenever Srisaket did land with his big left Cuadras absorbed the shots well.
However, the fight turned on an incident in the fourth round when an accidental head butt by Srisaket opened a cut over Cuadras’ left eye. As per WBC rules, the Thai had a point deducted and when the fight was halted in the eighth on the advice of the ring doctor after a further accidental clash of heads exacerbated the cut, Cuadras won the fight on a technical decision, leading as he did on all three scorecards 78-73, 77-74 and 77-75.
Truth be told, the stoppage was an unsatisfactory way to end what was shaping up to be an intriguing fight. Although Cuadras was ahead, Srisaket had severely troubled ‘El Principe’ in the seventh with some crunching body shots, one of which was the most impactful punch of the fight, being sufficiently vicious to make the Mexican wince and beat a hasty retreat.
“It was a huge gash,” Cuadras told The Ring after the fight. “I was not happy to see the fight end in such manner. I wanted to win the championship without any stains, but I was so happy to have dominated a great champion.
“He did catch me with a solid body shot early in the seventh round and I managed to box and finished the round strong so he can not complain. He simply could not beat me.
“He cut me with a very strong headbutt. Even though I believe it was an accident, it is a problem as he is used to going in with his head leading his punches.”
After the fight, Srisaket’s promoters unsuccessfully lobbied for a rematch at the WBC convention in Las Vegas in 2014. A return bout between the duo would still be welcome even all these years later.
Main image: Pepe Rodriguez/WBC.