CFE Arena, Florida - In the quarter-finals of the World Boxing Super Series tournament, Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-0, 12 KOs) retained the IBF bantamweight title with a twelve round split decision over previously undefeated Jason Moloney (17-1, 14 KOs). The scores were 115-113 for Moloney, 115-113 for Rodriguez and 115-113 for Rodriguez.
Rodriguez will now have to face WBA "regular" bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue in the semi-finals. Inoue demolished Juan Carlos Payano in the first round of his bout to advance in the WBSS.
Rodriguez captured the vacant IBF title back in May, when he won a lopsided twelve round unanimous decision over former world champion Paul Butler.
Rodriguez was landing the more accurate and harder punches in the first two rounds. Moloney was taking the punches well to the head and body, and was coming forward despite the connected hits.
Moloney was working his way back into the fight in the third, with Rodriguez still holding the edge and outlanding the challenger. Rodriguez was still more accurate in the fourth and seemed to stun Moloney with a hard right hand.
Rodriguez was putting his punches together much better in the fifth, with very hard connects to the body. Rodriguez was also using a solid jab that was setting up other combinations.
Moloney was picking up the pace in the sixth, taking the fight to Rodriguez. The contest was becoming very competitive in the seventh, as Moloney continued to take a few shots to land a few shots.
After Rodriguez controlled the eight, Moloney came out swinging and landing solid punches to the body in the ninth to gain a small edge. Moloney continued to push the pace in the tenth, not allowing Rodriguez to get a breather and making things very difficult for the champion - as Moloney was outpunching him against the ropes.
It was a war of wills in the eleventh, with both having moments as they traded at close range. They went to war in the twelfth and final round, as Moloney was trying to do everything to pour on the punches and a tired Rodriguez was doing whatever he could to fight him off and reach the final bell.