CARSON, Calif. — Former pound-for-pound king and four division world champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez firmly believes, as do many, that he clearly won his March 18 fight of the year candidate against Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.
However, Thailand’s Sor Rungvisai was awarded the majority decision and a junior bantamweight world title following the bloody slugfest at Madison Square Garden in New York.
On Friday, they weighed in for the much-anticipated rematch, which will take place Saturday (HBO, 10:15 p.m. ET/PT) in the main event of an all-junior bantamweight tripleheader at the StubHub Center.
Gonzalez (46-1, 38 KOs) weighed 114.8 pounds and Sor Rungvisai was right on the division limit of 115 pounds under a broiling sun at the stadium.
“I don’t believe I lost that fight and I am going to win this fight,” a confident Gonzalez said through a translator after making weight as hundreds of fans cheered, many waving flags from his home country of Nicaragua, where he is a national hero.
Sor Rungvisai (42-4-1, 38 KOs), a two-time junior bantamweight titleholder, was equally as confident for his second fight in the United States.
“I’ll be my very best and you will see a great fight,” he told the crowd through a translator. “I’ll bring the title back to Thailand. There is no pressure at all. I never back down from any challenges.”
Japanese star Naoya “The Monster” Inoue (13-0, 11 KOs) will make American debut in the co-feature as he defends his title against Cleveland’s Antonio Nieves (17-1-2, 9 KOs). Inoue, who will be making his sixth title defense, weighed in at 115 pounds and Nieves was 113.8.
The opening bout pits Mexican countrymen Carlos Cuadras, a former titleholder who won his belt against Sor Rungvisai and lost it to Gonzalez, against former unified flyweight titleholder Juan Francisco Estrada in a world title elimination fight that will secure the winner a mandatory shot at the winner of the main event.
Cuadras (36-1-1, 27 KOs) was 114.6 pounds and Estrada (35-2, 25 KOs), who suffered a loss to Gonzalez in a strawweight world title fight, was 114.8.
Gonzalez will earn $600,000 for the fight while Sor Rungvisai will make $170,000, according to contract details released on Friday by the California State Athletic Commission. Inoue will earn $182,500 and Nieves $35,000. Cuadras’ purse is $62,500 and Estrada will make $65,000.