By Keith Idec
Yuandale Evans earned his redemption in his hometown Friday night in Cleveland.
A determined, tough Evans withstood Luis Rosa’s relentless pressure and edged him in a very competitive, physical featherweight fight to win a 10-round split decision. The southpaw’s win against the previously undefeated Rosa was his biggest since Dominican knockout artist Javier Fortuna knocked out Evans in the first round of their April 2012 fight.
Two judges – Pat Casey (96-94) and Larry Hazzard Jr. (97-93) – scored the fight for the 28-year-old Evans (20-1, 14 KOs). One judge, Phil Rogers (96-94), had it for the 26-year-old Rosa (23-1-1, 11 KOs, 1 NC), of New Haven, Connecticut.
Evans’ win was broadcast by Showtime as the main event of a four-fight “ShoBox” installment from the Masonic Temple & Performing Arts Center.
Rosa and Evans sensed the fight was very close entering the 10th round and spent much of it trying to knock each other out.
Referee Shawn Clark warned Rosa for pushing Evans to the canvas late in the ninth round. Clark also had to separate them after the bell rang to end the ninth.
Evans had boxed well before Rosa drilled him with an overhand right that wobbled Evans with 2:01 left in the eighth round. He survived that trouble and a re-energized Evans rocked Rosa with a right hand while throwing a flurry of shots at his opponent’s head later in the eighth.
Rosa paid for moving backward, with his hands down, as Evans connected with a right-left combination just after the midway mark of the seventh round. Evans landed a right-left combination as Rosa plowed forward with about 20 seconds to go in the sixth round.
Evans didn’t move as much in the fifth round as he did during the fourth, which enabled Rosa to land more punches and bounce back from a round Evans seemingly won.
Evans boxed well at times in the fourth round by using his jab and stepping to the side before Rosa could smother him. Rosa never stopped moving forward, but often at the expense of defense.
Rosa and Evans fought inside for an extended period during the middle of the third round, when each fighter landed his fair share of clean punches.
A straight left hand by Evans knocked an off-balance Rosa into the ropes with 1:15 to go in the second round. Rosa landed two solid right hands just before the end of the second round, when Evans had his back against the ropes.
Rosa and Evans began trading power punches just 15 seconds into their fight. Evans eventually tried to work off his jab in the first round, but the rugged Rosa wouldn’t allow him to keep his distance for long in an action-packed first round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.