LAS VEGAS – Elvis Rodriguez was forced to go to the scorecards for the first time career though with his unbeaten record still intact.
The unbeaten junior welterweight from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic delivered a solid performance in outpointing Argentina’s Luis Alberto Veron over eight rounds. Judge Patricia Morse Jarman (78-74), Cory Santos (79-73) and Dave Moretti all scored the bout unanimously in favor of Rodriguez in their ESPN+ televised preliminary Saturday evening at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“This was my first scheduled eight-round fight, and I actually think I got a lot of good experience,” Rodriguez told ESPN’s Bernardo Osuna after his first decision win. “Each fight, you acquire something different, and for this fight, I think the experience of going the rounds actually helped me out.”
Despite his perfect knockout to win ratio, Rodriguez took his time in building towards an explosive finish. The unbeaten Dominican product—who trains out of Hall of Fame cornerman Freddie Roach’s iconic Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood—patiently boxed in the opening round, working behind a steady right jab out of the southpaw stance while not unnecessarily expending energy.
Veron did his best to make a fight out of it but paid the price anytime he worked his way inside. Rodriguez connected with left hands upstairs whenever Veron posed even the slightest opening.
Rodriguez stepped up the attack in round three, dodging a jab and peppering Veron with a right-left combination upstairs. Veron enjoyed success with the occasional right hand, though almost always and immediately met with a straight left from Rodriguez, who also tagged Veron with a clean right hook towards the end of the frame.
An inadvertent clash of heads left Veron with swelling around his left eye midway through round four. By that point, he was already tagged with right hooks and left hands from Rodriguez, who returned to the jab in the final minute of the frame.
Veron inched his way closer in rounds five and six, enjoying moments of success though still largely outgunned. The Argentine welterweight landed a few right hands, none of which forced Rodriguez to break stride. The unbeaten Rodriguez dialed up the pressure late in round six, connecting with a vicious right hook upstairs before bringing the attack to the body.
Rodriguez entered uncharted territory at the start of round seven, though showing no signs of slowing down. A punishing attack by Rodriguez was stalled only due to Veron losing his mouthpiece late in the frame. Rodriguez continued to work the body, touching Veron with right hooks downstairs before bringing it upstairs and slamming it home behind Veron’s guard.
Veron landed a right hand to begin the eighth and final round. Rodriguez took the shot well and continued with his attack. Veron was hurt to the body late in the round but dug deep to land a right hand and make it to the final bell.
It results in his second straight loss as Veron falls to 18-3-2 (9KOs). Alll five career blemishes coming in his last six starts.
Rodriguez improves to 11-0-1 (10KOs) with the win, his fifth straight in the MGM bubble.
“It’s a great experience going the full eight rounds,” said Rodriguez, who snapped a nine-fight knockout streak. “It’s back to the gym to work on several things, specifically I know I needed to let my hands go a little more. When I did do that, I was able to hurt him.
“But in the end, I think it was a great experience. He’s a natural welterweight. He’s never been stopped, so I knew it would be a tough challenge, but you know I will go back to the gym and work harder to continue to grow in this sport.”
Rodriguez-Veron served as part of a seven-fight card, topped by WBC junior lightweight titlist Miguel Berchelt versus former featherweight beltholder Oscar Valdez (28-0, 22KOs).
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox