The resurrected super-flyweight division continued its rise Saturday night when champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai withstood a furious rally and beat Mexico's Juan Francisco Estrada by majority decision at the Forum.
Following a tremendous, toe-to-toe 12th round that brought the 7,827 in attendance to their feet, judge Dave Moretti scored the bout 114-114, while Cathy Leonard had it 115-113 and Steve Morrow scored it 117-111.
Sor Rungvisai (45-4-1) relied on the intimidation of his powerful left hand to win five of the first seven rounds before the calculating, technical Estrada (36-3) found his groove, claiming four of the final five rounds. In the classic 12th, the pair combined for 208 total punches, with 54 combined power punches landing.
That kind of action led to the creation last year of the "SuperFly" series, and promoter Tom Loeffler expects the World Boxing Council to order a rematch that would be the main event of "SuperFly 3" at the Forum in the fall.
"Very good fight … [Estrada] hits hard and I like his style, but I thought I won the fight," Sor Rungvisai said. "I will give Estrada a rematch if that's what he wants."
Said Estrada: "I out-boxed him all night, attacked him the last three rounds … I want the rematch."
The rugged Estrada didn't yield to Sor Rungvisai's bulk and power advantage, but the champion from Thailand caused the former flyweight champ to be wary of the left hand that had knocked out 15 of 16 prior foes, including former No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez in September.
Punch statistics revealed Sor Rungvisai landed 194 of 879 total punches, while Estrada landed 189 of 671.
"Leading candidate for fight of the year," Loeffler said. "Both guys showed the warrior spirit."
In the co-main event, Puerto Rico's McWilliams Arroyo upset former WBC super-flyweight champion Carlos Cuadras of Mexico by the judges' majority decision scores of 95-95, 98-92 and 97-93 in the co-main event.
The bout featured numerous exchanges, and while Cuadras landed some effective blows early, Arroyo's sharper volume of work most impressed the judges. Arroyo (17-3) returned from a near two-year absence following his flyweight title loss to Gonzalez to claim a victory he used as a podium to seek Saturday's main event winner.
"People underestimated me because I hadn't fought … but I was always in the gym and always ready to fight and when the opportunity came to fight Carlos Cuadras, I was prepared," Arroyo said.
Cuadras (36-3-1), who hired middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin's Big Bear-based trainer Abel Sanchez following his narrow loss to Estrada by decision in September at StubHub Center, showed improved aggression in his combinations during the first five rounds.
Whether it was the focus on strength training that Cuadras underwent or not, he said, "I was tight all night long, very stiff. I couldn't get off my punches like I wanted to."
Flyweight champion Donnie Nietes of the Philippines made the first defense of his International Boxing Federation belt by knocking out Argentina's Juan Carlos Reveco (39-4) in the seventh round.
Nietes (41-1-4, 23 KOs) rocked Reveco at the close of the sixth round with a power punch to the chin. Reveco staggered backward lost, wandering to ropes to the side of his corner instead of to his awaiting cornermen. Trainer Rudy Hernandez guided Reveco to his stool.
Nietes pounced in the seventh, smashing a body combination punctuated by a left hook to the head that dropped Reveco. As the referee assessed him, Reveco's corner threw in the towel.
Ring physician Paul Wallace immediately ordered Reveco to Harbor UCLA Medical Center.
Nietes expressed interest to join the "SuperFly" action.
"There has been talk about me moving up … I would love to fight 'Chocolatito' next," said Nietes, 35.