Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Rodriguez-Takayama: Post-War Report Card

By Cliff Rold

There was a moment, in round seven, when it appeared Francisco Rodriguez might be running out of gas.  Katsunari Takayama was putting it on him, his back to the ropes, his body absorbing punishment.  After six fast paced, hard rounds, the more experienced man seemed to have found what he needed to win.

Then, Rodriguez started to fire again.

By round eight, Rodriguez had made a small adjustment, looking for counters and finding them.  An already fantastic fight went to its next level.  It reached for greatness.  By the time the final round rolled around, a round where each man threw well over 100 punches, Rodriguez-Takayama had more than reached that threshold. 

Each of the last four rounds stood as a round of the year candidate.  When it was over, the lead the two tiny warrior had carved over everything that came before in 2014 for Fight of the Year was the equivalent of Secretariat down the stretch at the Belmont.

It looked good going in.  It was better than anyone could have expected.

If anyone felt a little in awe at the end, it was justified.

Let’s go the report card.

Grades

Pre-Fight: Speed – Takayama B+; Rodriguez B-/Post: Same
Pre-Fight: Power – Takayama C; Rodriguez B/Post: Same
Pre-Fight: Defense – Takayama C+; Rodriguez C/Post: Same
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Takayama B+; Rodriguez B+/Post: A; A

One of the most interesting things about the fight was how many different fights took place.  Given the pace, it would be easy to see it as two guys just wailing away, but there was far more nuance than that. 

Takayama, always a mover, wisely moved and boxed when the trench warfare was too prolonged over the first eight rounds.  Rodriguez, too easy a target in round seven, went to a countering strategy in round eight and waited for Takayama’s rushes to time better shots.  We had a knockdown in the third for Rodriguez.  There were moments in the eleventh and twelfth that were correctly ruled slips but could have been called knockdowns on another night.

Referee Samuel Viruet deserves credit for getting those calls right.  Much was said of the questionable job Vic Drakulich did in Brandon Rios-Diego Chaves a week ago.  Viruet deserves praise then for letting the fighters decide.  There were warnings for various fouls in the fight, but he kept them brief and never made himself part of the action.

Takayama was the quicker man but Rodriguez showed again, as he had in unseating Merlito Sabillo for his first of now two titles, that he is a hard night at 105.  Having spent most of his career at Flyweight, his heavy hands worked against a career 105 lb. fighter like Takayama.  It was a close fight, but the most telling blows were his.

The one negative from the fight was a single atrocious score.  Judge John Madfis giving Takayama only one round was a disgrace, an insult to the Japanese warrior’s effort, to the fans watching, and to the fight itself.  It was, to date, the fight of the year.  It was also a reminder of so much of what is wrong with boxing and its officiating.  Rodriguez deserved the win. 

The scores should have reflected that he earned it.

The Future

The now WBO/IBF titlist Rodriguez’s willingness at Strawweight creates intrigue where there was little not long ago.  Will he follow up and attempt to finish the unification of the division?  If he does, let’s hope later this year (or perhaps more sanely sometime next), he can mix with South African Hekkie Budler.  Budler, the WBA titlist, is either 1 or 1A to Rodriguez after Saturday.  An exciting battler with less power than Rodriguez, a clash between the two might be another classic just waiting to happen. 

A rematch with Takayama would also be well worth it.  Takayama, at 31, may not have long left near the top.  He’s been a player at 105 for over a decade and the wars will catch up.  Saturday gave new fans a chance to learn who he is and why he has remained a perennial contender.  He was honorable in his defeat and gave everything he had.

What more can we ask for? 

Report Card Picks 2014: 33-15

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by King_ on 08-12-2014

Absolutely amazing fight

Comment by Divine Hammer on 08-12-2014

this was a FOTY candidate if i ever saw one.

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (2)
Top Headlines Verdejo To Train With Abel Sanchez in Big Bear, Flanagan Eyed Rigondeaux Warns Flores: When We Get in There - I Will Not Forgive! Lolenga Mock vs. Luke Blackledge Set For June 17, Denmark Cruiserweight Fighting For His Life After Knockout Loss Manny Pacquiao Backs Philippines President in War on ISIS Photos: Adonis Stevenson Grinds Hard For Fonfara Rematch Brook Quit Vs. Spence Because He Was Worried He'd Go Blind Photos: Jean Pascal, Roy Jones Jr. Come Together - Putting in Work Brook, Hearn Agree the Time is Right to Move Up to 154 Pounds Kovalev Feels Boost With Russian Coach For Andre Ward Rematch Photos: Andrzej Fonfara Open Workout For Stevenson Rematch Kudryashov vs. Durodola II Undercard is Coming Together Felix Alvarado, Rene Alvarado, Byron Rojas Get Knockout Wins Groves: I'm Sure I'll Beat DeGale Again, I Beat Him Twice Already Tim Tszyu Set To Return on July 22 in Toowoomba Sanchez: Golovkin Will Wear Canelo Down By Eight or Ninth Michael Conlan: I Want a Better Opponent Next, A Real Threat Who Can Handle "The Truth" After Brook-Spence? Joshua Could Lose IBF Belt Prior To Klitschko II, Pulev Stands Firm Omar Narvaez vs. Nikolay Potapov For WBO Interim-Title Diego Chaves Lands Grudge Match, Fabian Maidana on Undercard Golden Boy Prez on Working With Cotto Again, Canelo Rematch Povetkin vs. Rudenko Will Require Doping Tests, Says Manager Lipinets' Manager: Indongo Will Face Crawford, Belt Will Be Vacant Roach Relieved, Says Pacquiao Finally Getting Back into Form Miguel Cotto Will Resume Training at Wild Card on July 3 Bellew: Brook Had The Fight Beaten Out of Him By Errol Spence Porter: Spence Sent Message To Entire Welterweight Division Khan Wants to Fight Brook at Bramall Lane Next Summer Spence Broke Brook's Left Orbital Bone, Surgery a Possibility Spence: Brook Had To Quit - Or Eye May Get Permanent Damage Alexander vs. Collazo in Play For Potential Garcia-Broner Card Spence: I Proved Myself; Now It's Time for Thurman to Fight Me! Photos: Errol Spence Drops, Stops Kell Brook - MONSTER Gallery Photos: Groves Finally Does It, Stops Chudinov To Become Champ Callum Smith Pumped, Feels 100% Ready For Anthony Dirrell Groves: Who Wants To Fight Me? I'm Tired of Chasing People Papazov Edges Chaniev, Chebotarev Gets Another Kayo Win Arum: If McGregor Can't Get Mayweather, Then Pacquiao is There! Marquez Fires Back at Miguel Cotto: Take Care of Kamegai First!
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement