Commentary

Rodriguez fights through pain, Pryor Jr.

Originally Published: January 17, 2011
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com


A roundup of the past week's notable boxing results from around the world:

Saturday at Cincinnati
Lightweight
Adrien Broner TKO1 John Revish

Records: Broner, 19-0, 16 KOs; Revish, 10-2-2, 8 KOs

Rafael's remark: The flashy, fast and confident Broner -- nicknamed "The Problem" -- was way too much for Revish, making him quit after the first lopsided round for his 10th consecutive knockout. Broner, 21, is one of Golden Boy's many prospects and one of the best young talents in boxing. Fighting in his hometown, Broner aimed to put on a show. After being carried to the ring dressed as a Roman gladiator, Broner sent Revish, 26, of Baton Rouge, La., reeling from a left hand to the head early in the round. Moments later, he dropped Revish with another left hand. Broner has a lot of hot dog in him. While the referee was counting, he strutted and danced for the crowd. Through the rest of the fight Broner showboated, bolo punched and played to the crowd while ripping Revish with shots until he had had enough and quit in his corner after the round.

Friday at Key West, Fla.
Super middleweight
Peter Manfredo Jr. W10 Daniel Edouard

Scores: 98-91 (twice), 97-92
Records: Manfredo Jr., 37-6, 20 KOs; Edouard, 23-4-2, 14 KOs

Rafael's remark: Both of these 30-year-olds have had their opportunities and come up short in their biggest tests. The winner of this fight likely would move on to another notable fight while the loser's career would be in jeopardy, or at least significantly damaged. Edouard, a native of Haiti living in West Palm Beach, Fla., was coming off a loss and said if he lost again he would retire after a career filled with brawls. (Who can forget his fourth-round knockout of Willie Gibbs in 2004 in an all-action slugfest?) Manfredo, of Providence, R.I., is known to fight fans for his stint on the popular first season of "The Contender," which he parlayed into a losing title shot against then-super middleweight champ Joe Calzaghe. Manfredo had also lost to former titlist Jeff Lacy and Sakio Bika since that third-round knockout loss to Calzaghe in 2007.

Although Manfredo had won five in a row since Bika also knocked him out in the third round, Edouard posed his most notable opponent since. It was Edouard who got off to a strong start in the "Friday Night Fights" main event. He was aggressive and had Manfredo a bit on his heels. But then everything changed with one punch in the fourth round. Edouard, who took three tries to make the contract weight of 163 pounds (officially weighing 162¼), dropped his hands as he took a step back from a clinch and Manfredo creamed him in the face with a right hand. With blood in his mouth, Edouard went down face first and was hurt. Although he beat the count, the momentum of the fight swung clearly toward Manfredo at that point. Manfredo, perhaps with a boost of confidence, took it to Edouard for most of the rest of the entertaining fight. Edouard showed a lot of heart besides just getting up from the knockdown. He swallowed blood throughout the fight and fought through much of the fight with a swollen right eye. Manfredo also took a lot of shots and had his face marked up, but showed he was the fresher fighter. With the victory, Manfredo put himself in position for another meaningful fight, which he needs in the wake of the prefight disclosure that he is six months behind on his mortgage and in financial trouble despite earning a combined $750,000 between just the Calzaghe and "Contender" finale fights.

Super middleweight
Edwin Rodriguez W10 Aaron Pryor Jr.

Scores: 98-91, 97-92, 96-93
Records: Rodriguez, 18-0, 13 KOs; Pryor Jr., 15-3, 11 KOs

Rafael's remark: Have to give Rodriguez credit for gutting out this very close (despite the scores) victory after suffering a left shoulder injury early in the fight. Rodriguez, 25, of Worcester, Mass., via the Dominican Republic, has been tapped by many as one of boxing's brightest prospects, and had gotten good reviews from light heavyweight champ Jean Pascal and super middleweight titlist Carl Froch, who used him as a sparring partner. But Rodriguez, a former U.S. national amateur champion, did not look good as he escaped with the victory against Pryor, 32, of Cincinnati, the son of Hall of Famer Aaron Pryor Sr., who was in the corner as his trainer. However, Rodriguez has a reasonable excuse for the performance as he somehow managed to make it through the fight -- and still pull out the win -- despite suffering what is believed to be a tear in his rotator cuff or a severe sprain of his left shoulder. Rodriguez said he suffered the injury throwing a punch in the second round. Although hampered, he hung in there and was able to edge the much taller Pryor, who showed improvement from his other televised bouts. It was a competitive fight (and an entertaining one) all the way, but Rodriguez appeared to land the more solid punches. However, the fight looked close enough that when referee Samuel Burgos docked a point from Pryor in the eighth round for a bogus elbow, it seemed as though it could have a significant impact in the result. It was a terrible call because Pryor did not throw an elbow. He simply raised his arms when Burgos tried to break a clinch and his elbow may have grazed Rodriguez accidentally. It was certainly not intentional and no way was it worth a point deduction. Fortunately, it did not figure in the outcome.

After the fight, Rodriguez collapsed in his dressing room from the shoulder pain and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. The small hospital in Key West did not have an MRI machine, so promoter Lou DiBella said Rodriguez had one at home on Sunday morning. However, the swelling was still too bad for the doctor to be able to give a definitive diagnosis. DiBella said Rodriguez will have another MRI this week once the swelling subsides. Hopefully, Rodriguez is not sidelined for too long.

Also on the undercard, Miami's Antwone Smith (20-2-1, 12 KOs), who fought his way to prospect status before being upset in a ninth-round knockout loss to Lanardo Tyner in July, scored his second consecutive victory since that defeat. Smith, 23, stopped Kansas journeyman Jose Gonzalez (13-10-1, 11 KOs), 29, in the third round of a junior middleweight bout.

Friday at Indio, Calif.
Junior middleweight
Erislandy Lara KO1 Delray Raines

Records: Lara, 15-0, 10 KOs; Raines, 19-9-1, 13 KOs

Rafael's remark: Lara is a gifted fighter who is ready to face top competition at 154 pounds. The 27-year-old southpaw was a star amateur for the powerhouse Cuban national team. He was a three-time Cuban national champion, won a 2005 world amateur championship and would have been a gold medal favorite at the 2008 Beijing Olympics but did not compete because he defected in July 2008. Raines was actually a step down in competition for Lara, who already owns wins against Grady Brewer (a former winner of "The Contender") and former world title challenger Danny Perez. It came as no surprise that Lara crushed Raines in the main event of Telefutura's "Solo Boxeo." Lara spent the early part of the round feeling Raines out and not getting overly aggressive. When Raines threw punches, Lara covered up well with a high guard. Ultimately, Lara ended the fight with a combination, hitting Raines with a right hook followed by a flush straight left hand to the face. Raines went down, his nose bloody, but eventually got to his knees before being counted out by referee David Mendoza at 2 minutes, 59 seconds. Lara, who scored his fourth consecutive first-round knockout, is ready to face a serious contender or even to fight for a title. Lara would like a crack at winner of the Jan. 29 bout between titleholder Rigoberto Alvarez and Austin Trout. Lara would be a clear favorite against either man. He would also be a considerable favorite against titlist Cornelius "K9" Bundrage. Raines, 24, of Paris, Ark., dropped to 1-3-1 in his last four bouts, including early knockouts to David Lemieux and Ronald Hearns.

Welterweight
Frankie Gomez W6 Luis Lugo

Scores: 60-53 (three times)
Records: Gomez, 8-0, 6 KOs; Lugo, 11-15-1, 6 KOs

Rafael's remark: After beginning his pro career with six consecutive knockouts, Gomez, the 18-year-old East Los Angeles former amateur star, was pushed the six-round distance for the second fight in a row. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though, as Gomez, a U.S. amateur national champion and silver medalist at the world amateur championships in 2009, gets in his rounds and experience in what many believe will be a career in which he will become a top fighter and champion. Gomez faced Mexico's Lugo, 23, on just a few days' notice after another journeyman opponent dropped out. Despite Lugo's woeful record and dropping to 1-10 in his last 11 bouts, he nonetheless hung in there to go the distance in a one-sided fight. Lugo is something of a go-to opponent for Golden Boy, which has also matched him with prospects Danny Garcia, Adrien Broner and Karl Dargan. Gomez, at 146¼ pounds, was the heaviest of his career and did not look in great shape, but he dominated the action in a pedestrian performance that lacked energy and combination punching. Gomez did have a big moment late in the third round when he clipped Lugo with a flush left hand to the chin, dropping him to his backside. Lugo survived and was in some trouble, but made it through the final 30 seconds of the round despite Gomez's best efforts to get rid of him.

Super middleweight
Randy Caballero W4 Manuel Ortega

Scores: 40-35 (three times)
Records: Caballero, 7-0, 4 KOs; Ortega, 1-4, 0 KOs

Rafael's remark: Caballero, 20, of Coachella, Calif., is one of several Cameron Dunkin-managed prospects signed by Golden Boy last fall. Fighting in front a supportive crowd, Caballero dominated the overmatched Ortega, 25, of Seattle, for the not-so-surprising lopsided decision. Caballero has a lot of tools, including a good jab and the ability to throw combinations. He used both in routing Ortega. Keep an eye on Caballero, who will be back on another Telefutura undercard in Indio, Calif., on March 4.

Also on the card, middleweight prospect Bastie Samir (8-0, 8 KOs), a 2008 Olympian for Ghana now based in Las Vegas, stopped Philadelphia's Greg Hackett (2-5, 0 KOs) with a barrage of punches at 2 minutes, 48 seconds of the first round. Samir has yet to see the third round as a professional.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.