Srisaket shows abil­ity to adapt

Bangkok Post - - GENERAL - Con­tact Wig­gins’ World at davwigg@gmail

Srisaket Sor Rungvi­sai pitched a near-shut-out in suc­cess­fully de­fend­ing his WBC su­per-fly­weight crown against Mex­i­can chal­lenger Iran Diaz at Bangkok’s Muang Thong Thani arena last Satur­day, gar­ner­ing 120, 119 and 119 points on the three judges’ score­cards.

It was a solid win to be sure. But for Wig­gins’ World, at least, of his last four per­for­mances in ti­tle bouts, this was prob­a­bly the Thai’s least slam-bang show­ing — through no fault of his own.

Rather, you can chalk it up to the style of Srisaket’s foe. It just didn’t bring out the best in the champ.

In his two wins over Ro­man “Cho­co­latito” Gon­za­lez and his pre­vi­ous ti­tle de­fence against Juan Fran­cisco Estrada, we were able to see vin­tage Srisaket be­cause those fight­ers ba­si­cally stayed in punch­ing range. Diaz was an­other story.

For starters, the Mex­i­can had a “length” ad­van­tage — in both height and reach — over the Thai fighter that he used wisely.

He frus­trated Srisaket, to a de­gree, with his in-and-out ma­noeu­vring and oc­ca­sional lat­eral move­ment.

Diaz would en­ter the en­gage­ment zone to de­liver chop­ping left-right com­bi­na­tions or straight rights. And then just as fast, exit it by quickly backpedalling.

As a re­sult, many of Srisaket’s blows dur­ing their ex­changes were of the glanc­ing, rather than the flush va­ri­ety that caught his foe on the re­treat. But they were scor­ing shots none­the­less.

And there WERE a lot of them. How­ever, we did not see the Thai fighter bor­ing in and pound­ing his foe’s mid­sec­tion with his usual large num­ber of thump­ing body shots this fight.

Nor did we see as many head­snap­ping punches as nor­mal ei­ther.

On this night, it was the quan­tity, rather than the qual­ity, of Srisaket’s punches that earned him the de­ci­sion.

Rather than pur­sue and stay on top of Diaz as he backpedalled, Srisaket was con­tent to keep mov­ing for­ward and wait for the next ex­change.

And then, by con­tin­u­ally us­ing his patented right-left com­bos and lead lefts, he was able to pile up points that are usu­ally given to the ag­gres­sor — es­pe­cially if he’s the champ.

But he wasn’t able to se­ri­ously dam­age the slick-mov­ing Mex­i­can.

To Srisaket’s credit, he was able to avoid tak­ing the kind of pun­ish­ment he ab­sorbed in his last three fights — the price he must pay for em­ploy­ing his over­whelm­ing, weary­our-foe-down style.

That was the up­side of Srisaket not be­ing able to fight his nor­mal fight.

Yes, give Diaz credit for pretty much de­fus­ing the Thai fighter’s ex­plo­sive­ness. But that is not enough to take a ti­tle away from the champ.

Usu­ally, the chal­lenger has to de­ci­sively de­feat a cham­pion to earn a points win.

Diaz was un­der­stand­ably up­set by the scor­ing af­ter­wards. He had in­deed fought his fight well.

But while all the rounds were com­pet­i­tive, Diaz did not do enough to win them. His punch­ing style — es­pe­cially how he em­ployed his height and reach ad­van­tage — was in­deed im­pres­sive, but he did not flash enough of it.

Srisaket was, as they say, the “busier” fighter through­out. And on this night, that was enough.

While the ac­tion was fu­ri­ous at times and there plenty of great ex­changes, nei­ther fighter was able to re­ally “rock” the other (easy for Wig­gins’ World to say, of course, be­cause it wasn’t on the re­ceiv­ing end of those blows).

If noth­ing else, Srisaket showed that he has the abil­ity to adapt.

He did not get flus­tered. Rather, the Thai fighter stayed the course and did what he had to do to win an­other ti­tle de­fence.

The “Wow!” fac­tor of his pre­vi­ous cham­pi­onship fights be damned.

Srisaket Sor Rungvi­sai, left, in ac­tion against Iran Diaz at Muang Thong Thani.

WIG­GINS’ WORLD By Dave ave Wigg gins

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