Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Friday Night Fraud

Anyone else want to call the police after Delvin Rodriguez got robbed on national television?

Rodriguez, (25-4-2) faced UK fighter, Ashley Theophane (26-4-1) for ESPN's Friday Night Fights on July 30th, 2010, taking place in Miami, (pronounced My-a-ma), Oklahoma.

Rodriguez looked great in the majority of the 10-round bout, using his jab well and timing his shots, while Theophane seemed more wild and undisciplined. Rodriguez was patient, counter-punching through Theophane's flurries and expertly kept his distance, while Theophane made several attempts to make it an inside fight.

Rodriguez faced difficulty in the seventh round, when he started slowing down and looking like he was running out of steam, though Theophane wasn't able to completely capitalize on it. The next two rounds saw Rodriguez increasing his work rate and dominating Theophane, though the 10th round saw a very depleted Rodriguez hanging in there and counter-punching Theophane rather than being the aggressor. The two traded hard for the last 30 seconds of the fight.

Teddy Atlas and Joe Tessitore seemed to think a Rodriguez win was a foregone conclusion, stating it to be "a formality" for Rodriguez to be announced the winner. The judges didn't seem to be watching the same fight, scoring it a Majority Decision in Theophane's favor. With understandable shock and disgust, Rodriguez left the ring immediately, only enduring Theophane's unsportsmanlike gloating briefly. Atlas and Tessitore were openly disgusted by the decision, with Atlas blaming these types of incidents as one of the reasons why fans are leaving the sport of Boxing.

Sadly, Rodriguez is no stranger to being robbed. In his first fight against Isaac Hlatshwayo, in Hlatshwayo's home country of South Africa, Rodriguez lost a close decision to the crowd favorite, which was later changed to a draw. Though the seeming bias in South Africa woul have left an indelible mark to most, Rodriguez agreed to travel to Poland just last year in an IBF title eliminator to fight Rafal Jackiewicz in his home country. Though Rodriguez had Jackiewicz going backwards most of the fight, out-punched him 1025 to 351 and knocked him "down", if not "out" in the 6th round, Jackiewicz got the decision in similar fashion.

This latest robbery in Miami, OK should raise a red flag for all boxing fans as well as for Delvin Rodriguez himself, whose career is ultimately on the line here. Something afoul is going on with the management of this fighter. Is it incompetence on his team? Or is Delvin Rodriguez the latest lamb being led to slaughter in the "business" of boxing?