Delvin Rodriguez had things well in hand in the Friday Night Fights main event at the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Oklahoma. He was using his superior technique and output to take rounds from Ashley Theophane, and was well on his way to a dominant UD. But then he started sputtering, just a tad, his tank having depleted with scant warning. But Theophane, in that nine and tenth round when he could have exploited Dels limitations, simply isnt the brand of fighter to be able to step it up, get into that upper register gear to take advantage.
Or, at least, thats how I saw things. The judges saw and said differently.
Despite the fact that Del had a 194-767 to 136-523 edge in punch numbers, the arbiters scored it 95-95 (Griffin), 96-64, 96-64 (Ritter and Sutherland).
Was the majority decision win for Theo the worst decision of the year to this point? No. Was it worse than bad? Yes. It was pretty putrid. Theo came on late, somewhat, but Rodriguez won by a wide, wide margin, its fair to say, in the eyes of TSS, and Teddy Atlas, who saw it 97-93 for the loser.
Joe Tessitore too had a hard time swallowing the decision. Weve been doing this long enough sometimes you just shake your head, he said. The fans are sometimes doing more than shaking their heads, theyre moving away from the sport, Atlas said.
Rodriguez (age 30; 25-5 with the loss; from CT) was 148 1/2, while Theophane (age 29; 27-4 with the win; from UK) was 147 1/2.
In the first, Del showed a steady, long jab. Theos own jab wasnt woeful, either. The Brit transplant looks like hed have more power than his record indicates. Announcers Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas noted that Theo leaves his belly open for business when he covers his mug. Would Del notice and target that breadbasket?
Somewhat, but mostly he stuck with the jab, the straight right, and the hook to finish. Theo was never out of the game, but he was outworked in just about every minute of every round early on. He did perk up some in the seventh, and he hurt Del in the eighth a tiny bit. The favored man got a little reckless as his stamina waned. He traded, instead of pumping the jab, and controlling the tempo and flow. A clubbing right tickled Theo in the ninth, and had him on his unicycle. Atlas astutely pointed out that Dels balance was off in the tenth, and that he was ready to go. Was he tired? Dehydrated from the heat, over 100 degrees in Oklahoma on Friday? Theo didnt have enough, mentally and physically, to force the issue. Wed go to the cards.
Chicagoan Don George (20-1-1) was upset by Mexican Francisco Sierra in the TV opener. Play by play man Tessitore touched on Georges 21 month hiatus from the ring, because of serious criminal charges, which Tess said were now behind him. The broadcaster did George a favor by not specifying; he was charged with criminal sexual assault on a family member, regarding offenses that took place when he was 11-13 years old, and the victim was much younger, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Sierra had the favored man in trouble a few times in the first. In the second, blood gushed from Georges nose. He is a straight-ahead fighter, doesnt move the noggin enough, loops his shots, especially the right, and was due to be exposed. George looked like a preschooler did fingerpainting on his face with a mass of blood covering his visage in the fifth. Sierra had ample energy, for someone taking a fight on a mere nine days notice.
George was knocked down in round seven, with 30 seconds left. A right at the bell, while the sound was still vibrating, crumpled George, hardcore. The ref Gary Ritter said it was a foul, after the bell, and gave George five minutes to recover. His eyes were rolling, and Atlas and Tess both thought hed be better off staying on the stool. Team George agreed; they told the doctor and the ref that their kid was done. The corner was looking for the commission to rule in favor of George, and give him a DQ win, but the ref said he didnt think that one blow at the bell caused the fight to end, and said hed take two points from Sierra. Kenny weighed in, and said he though Sierra should be DQd. Atlas disagreed, and Im with Teddy. BK, the sound of the bell was still in the air.
That aside, we went to the cards, and Sierra got the nod, via technical decision, 68-63, 69-62, 69-62
We heard George ask his second if he fell down, and his man said yes.
Kenny noted that well be able to watch Wlad-Peter..online. On ESPN3.com. Er...I didnt even know there was such a thing. They rematch on Sept. 11.
BK chatted with Dan Rafael on the phone. DR was in Vegas for the JMM-Diaz redo. He said JMM might fight Amir Khan if he beats Diaz. Diaz might meet Michael Katsidis in a sequel if he wins.
Atlas said he thinks Juan Diaz is a shot fighter, and that JMM will KO Diaz tomorrow night. I think it may be time for Diaz to get out of the sport, Atlas said, but conceded that wed all see if he was right tomorrow.
Viewers were treated to a retrospective on Irish Micky Ward, who will be feted by the Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame. The movie about his life, The Fighter, opens in December.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV