Saul Rodriguez Nearly Capsized – Saul “Neno” Rodriguez was nearly capsized in his hometown debut by Oscar Bravo but managed to rally to a split decision win on Friday.
With new boss Floyd Mayweather watching in the front row, Rodriguez (21-0-1, 15 KOs) rallied to victory in front of a boisterous sold out crowd of 1,700 fans at Pechanga Resort and Casino. It was also the Riverside native’s nationwide television debut on Showtime.
The 23-year-old Rodriguez was facing a veteran hard nut in Bravo (23-7, 11 KOs) who had recently spent 10 rounds against Puerto Rico’s Felix Verdejo. It was not unexpected that Bravo could take a punch. But he also could deliver one too.
After two rounds of give and take with probing like punches, the heavy artillery began to show up in the fourth round. A counter left by Bravo connected solidly that ignited Rodriguez to return with several laser rights.
In the fifth round, Bravo saw an opening for a counter right and caught Rodriguez flush in the neutral corner. Down went Rodriguez in folds along the ropes. He got up but did not run. Instead he watched the incoming fire from Bravo and when his head cleared began to fire combinations that slowed down the Chilean’s attack. It also forced more caution from Bravo.
Rodriguez had built up a lead during the first four rounds and needed them. Bravo kept finding a target for that right cross and forced Rodriguez to battle his way out of every situation. Battle he did but there were no more gimme rounds for the Riverside prizefighter.
“I was definitely going for the KO throughout the night, but I was still boxing with him. I just gotta go back in the gym and continue developing as a fighter, I am just happy to bring the win home to my hometown and my home stable [Mayweather Promotions],” said Rodriguez, who is trained by his father Saul Rodriguez Sr. and Roberto Alcazar, the former trainer of Oscar De La Hoya.
After 10 rounds Rodriguez was ruled the victor by split decision 97-92, 95-94 94-95.
“I was pretty happy with my performance, but I know there are a few things I need to work on and really just stay focused,” Rodriguez said about his debut performance with Mayweather Promotions.
Saul Rodriguez Nearly Capsized and Other Bouts
In a battle of one-beaten super welterweights, Justin DeLoach (17-1, 9 KOs) knocked out Chris Pearson (17-2, 11 KOs) to win the vacant USBA junior middleweight title.
DeLoach seemed the quicker and more effective puncher from the onset against southpaw Pearson. During a speedy exchange Pearson tried to grab hold of DeLoach which proved a bad idea. The lanky fighter from Augusta, Georgia rained eight consecutive blows on Pearson and down he went. He beat the count and was met with another barrage of blows and this time Pearson could not recover at 2:30 of the second round. DeLoach was ruled the winner by knockout.
“I’m not surprised that it happened so quickly. We had a strategy and we stuck to it. Hard work pays off and that was proof,” said DeLoach.
Andrew “the Beast” Tabiti (14-0, 12 KOs) of Las Vegas kept the NABF cruiserweight title by knockout of Quatis Graves (11-1-2,4 KOs) at the end of the sixth round. Tabiti was in control from the beginning with a stiff left jab that bloodied Graves in the first round. From there on Graves was on retreat and tried to hang on with some clinches and occasional counters. In the sixth round a right to the body by Tabiti dropped Graves for the count. After the count, the Texan managed to avoid the killing blow but when the round was over, his corner stopped the fight.
“As soon as I got in the ring, I knew it was game over for him. Figuring out his game plan was easy money. The only thing I feel I could have done better was get him out of the fight quicker,” said Tabiti who is originally from Chicago.
Lionell Thompson (18-4, 11 KOs) proved too slick and too quick for Australia’s Steve Lovett (15-2, 12 KOs) who allowed the New York light heavyweight to dictate the pace. Thompson caught Lovett with a lead right through his guard that wobbled the taller fighter. Thompson saw that he was hurt and went after him with some well-placed combinations. Lovett’s corner tossed in the towel at 2:40 of the fourth round.
Cameron Krael (10-12-2) continued to reverse his fortune with a knockout of Louisiana’s Todd Manuel (12-13-1) at 2:59 of the second round. Krael scored his second consecutive knockout after not having any knockouts before in his career. His last win was a surprise win over Maurice Lee and he could have easily been called the winner against Egidijus Kavaliauskas if it were a longer fight.
In a fierce welterweight battle Sanjarbek Rakhmanov (7-0-1) won a hard earned decision over Phoenix’s Jose Marrufo (9-6-2) after eight rounds of pure war. Both had their moments of slamming body shots and left hooks to the head, but Rakhmanov had more of those moments in winning by decision. There were no knockdowns in the fight but Marrufo suffered a cut due to a clash of heads in the third round.
Oluwafemi Oyeleye (2-0) a southpaw from Nigeria, used his height and reach to out-point Mexico’s Adan Ahumada (0-2) and win by unanimous decision after four rounds in a middleweight fight. Oyeleye won every round.
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