An all-out war took place at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night as Roman Gonzalez surrendered his WBC super-flyweight title to Srikaset Sor Rungvisai.
Srikaset did what was necessary to take Gonzalez out of his comfort zone as an extended stay at the 115 pound limit prove too much for the previously undefeated title holder.
The pair exchanged furious blows from the off, with the first round heading to the challenger 10-8 courtesy of a crunching body shot that seemed to catch Gonzalez off balance.
Gonzalez came back with some quality work in the next three rounds as Srikaset tried to give as good as he got. The Nicaraguan was edging the rounds on accuracy alone (on my card) and timing of his flurries despite a cut opening up in the third from an accidental headbutt.
Many blows - no matter how solid, just seemed to bounce off Srikaset though, who had the edge in size and strength as Gonzalez attempted to chop him down little by little during the mid-rounds.
By the end of the fifth, Srikaset was having to take fierce blows as Gonzalez piled on the pressure and the Thai fighter tired slightly from his sterling efforts early on.
Both men were marked up and feeling the effects of the many furious exchanges but it was the champion who was more forceful as Srikaset lost a point in the sixth for yet another clash of heads.
The point off seemed to galvanize Srikaset who produced his best round so far in the seventh to dip the legs of Gonzalez towards the very end of the session.
Gonzalez turned the tide once again in the eighth as ‘Chocolatito’ dazzled whilst continuing to bleed profusely from the cut which was getting worse due to continuous touching of heads on the inside.
In the ninth, Gonzalez was completely covered in blood on one half of his face and must have been struggling impaired vision despite the relentless pace showing no signs of slowing down. Srikaset finished the round strong but may have been thinking he still had some work to do in order to win the fight on the cards down the stretch.
The tenth was more of the same, although it was Gonzalez hitting the target more despite clearly being the more tired of the two fighters.
Gonzalez marched forward in the penultimate round, possibly sensing the contest may be close on the card as the fresher Srikaset kept his composure under pressure.
The final three minutes saw Gonzalez go for the knockout as Srikaset tried to avoid the onslaught as the fight was ultimately placed in the hands of the judges.
To the crowd's obvious dismay, Srikaset was given the nod 114-112 on two cards, with a third seeing it 113-113 – a draw.
A rematch would be the big seller, although the WBC may now order Srikaset to defend against Cuadras as Gonzalez licks his wounds as well as healing from them after suffering a first loss in 47 fights.