by Piotr Momot
Rafal Jackiewicz is now only one step away from fullfilling his dream of being the world champion after beating Delvin Rodriguez in a very entertaining affair. Polish welterweight convincingly beat his much taller and physically stronger opponent earning a well deserved unanimous decision. Now being official number one IBF welterweight contender, Jackiewicz will face the winner of championship bout between Isaac Hlathswayo and Jan Zaveck.
Not huge but very loud crowd in Elk, Poland saw their hero very focused from the first bell. Jackiewicz was covered behind tight guard waiting for good opportunities to counter. The Pole showed a very good form before he threw any shot to make sure that he wouldn't be countered by his much stronger rival.
During the first two rounds made it clear that even though Jackiewicz is the shorter man, he can perfectly time his opponent's jab and counter with his straight right hand and a very quick stift jab. Rodriguez tried to move forward and put some pressure on the Polish fighter but was unable to land any punches.
The tough Dominican won the third round mainly because inactivity of Jackiewicz. Rodriguez also did not land many punches but he at least threw some. Next two rounds were again dominated by Jackiewicz who stunned his opponent at the end of the fifth. If Polish guy was a puncher, it could be the quick work for him, based on how many clean punches he landed in the first five rounds.
Coming to the sixth round, Jackiewicz was confident of his abilities and ready to rock his opponent once again. But he made a mistake by getting a little overconfident and got caught himslef by a big right hook while he was approaching with his straight right. Jackiewicz was immediatly out on his feet and went on the ropes covering. His eyes were not clear, his legs were not steady, he was looking like ready to go at any second.
Rodriguez went wild after he his hurt opponent and tried to turn around this fight in one round. It looked like Eddie Cotton would wave the fight off at any second but finally Jackiewicz went down which eventually rescued him from being stopped. He took the eight count and started to clinch in survival mode. It was hard to imagine but he finished the round on his feet.
Jackiewicz looked pretty much steady coming to the seventh but his body langauge was not as confident as he was before going down. Now being more cautious, he again waited patiently for the good opporunities to land his shots and outpoint still dangerous rival gunning for another big shot.
From the eight round, Jackiewicz looked fully recovered from the knockdown and controlled the next few rounds with his boxing. Going into final round, Rodriguez looked like he knew that he needed a knockout to win but his offensive performance was as ineffective. Jackiewicz stole the 12th round with late fury and landing some quick combinations on the inside.
All three judges saw it the same way, with scores of 116-112, 114-112, and 115-112 for Jackiewicz. This writer scored it a bit more wide, scoring nine rounds to three for the Polish fighter. The Rodriguez and his team disagreed with the scorecards but they did not have any strong arguments. Jackiewicz outlanded Rodriguez by at least a two to one margin being more precise and landing more meaningfull punches in almost every round. The Polish fighter also has showed a much better defense and footwork. Probably in late February of next year, Jackiewicz will face the winner of Isaac Hlathswayo-Jan Zaveck clash.