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13 NOVEMBER 2018

Where am I? Home Columns Marc Livitz

Lara Puts On Masterclass Class Against Rodriguez

By Marc Livitz: Erislandy Lara easily retained his WBA super welterweight title on Friday evening with a convincing unanimous decision win over Delvin Rodriguez at the UIC Pavillon in Chicago. Throughout the first round, "The American Dream" Lara showcased his superior boxing skills to beat Rodriguez to the punch as well as counter just about every attempt to get at him in any way. Erislandy’s seemingly laser guided right jab easily found their target throughout much of the second. He complimented this with landed shots from each hand in round three.


Successive power punches to the head of Devlin highlighted the period. The pattern didn’t change in neither the fourth nor fifth. Rodriguez was trying his hardest, yet Lara wouldn’t allow him to even create any hints of a rhythm. The crowd in Chicago didn’t seem to know whether to cheer Lara’s brilliance or boo the lack of action towards what was shaping up to be target practice for the Cuban defector. Left after left and right after right found a home in the sixth for Lara. In the closing twenty seconds, he connected with a quick 1-2 shot to the head which sent Delvin to the canvas. The Danbury, Connecticut fighter showed his trademark heart and easily beat the count to just make it out of the round.


For the rest of the contest, Lara seemingly toyed with Rodriguez and almost sent him to the mat once again at the end of round eight. The gap in class tonight could not feasibly have been any greater in the last three rounds. Delvin refused to quit, which allowed Lara punch with even greater confidence and accuracy. Rodriguez jabbed early on in the eleventh and Erislandy simply blocked every shot. A hard left sent the Connecticut fighter stumbling back to the canvas, yet referee Clestino Ruiz ruled it as a simple tangling of feet.


As the contest moved to the last round, Delvin didn’t appear to be in danger of being knocked out, rather just vastly outmaneuvered and completely out of Lara’s league. The Chicago crowd clamored for a knockout, yet the technician from Cuba who now calls Houston, Texas home was content to simply coast through the final three minutes and on to an easy decision win. He wobbled Delvin one last time in the closing minute, however Rodriguez held his hands up in jest, perhaps comfortable with the fact that he made it to the bell on his feet.


The judges didn’t likely need any time to tally their respective scorecards tonight in the Windy City. All three were in agreement with tallies of 120-107. Lara threw almost three hundred more punches than Rodriguez and landed one hundred more than him. He held to his super welterweight title and took his record to (21-2-2, 12 KO’s) while Delvin Rodriguez fell to (28-8-4, 16 KO’s). The names of Mayweather, Cotto and Golovkin rolled off the lips of the Cuban world champion as his possible future opponents.


Co-Main Event Report


Beterbiev KO’s Johnson in Seven


Artur Beterbiev scored a seventh round knockout over Alexander Johnson in a round light heavyweight contest earlier in the night. Southpaw Johnson looked to use his right jab in the early going perhaps with the knowledge that his unbeaten opponent originally from Russia came into the ring with a perfect record, all of which came by way of knockout. Alexander tried to use the ring and tied Beterbiev up more than once during the opening three minutes. An overhand right from Artur got the ball rolling just as the second had commenced. The Russian forced his Maryland foe to cover up as he landed successive head and body shot combinations.


As before, Johnson used the clinch to slow the pace. Beterbiev (9-0, 9 KO’s) continued to apply pressure and eventually let his hands fly with precise and accurate punching up high. Johnson landed his first notable punch early in round three. The rest of the round, for the most part belonged to Artur, who continued to stay out of the center of the ring and push the action closer to the ropes. Alexander got off to a fast start in the fourth, yet he quickly slowed down due to the relentless pursuit of his Russian cum Canadian opponent.


Beterbiev began to unload up top on Johnson, who himself had his guard held high and would soon be the first fighter to make it past four rounds with the eastern European pugilist. Johnson began to show the signs of fatigue as the fifth was underway and the bout’s first knockdown occurred about halfway into it as a snapping left jab from Beterbiev caught Johnson squarely on the side of his face. He easily beat the count, yet even his actions of pushing down his opponent’s head did him no good. Artur continued to throw his shots towards Alexander’s chin.


Shortly thereafter and with Johnson’s back to the ropes, Beterbiev landed a crisp left uppercut which was followed by one from the right. The fighter from Maryland briefly slumped backwards into the ropes and another knockdown was registered by referee Mark Nelson. Johnson somehow made his way out of the fifth. He was the aggressor of sorts throughout much of round six, although it seemed to be more a case of his foe taking a three minute breather. About one minute into the next round, Beterbiev connected with a short left hook to the head of Johnson to score his third knockdown of the contest and as previously seen, he beat the count.


However and just moments later, he lost his balance just enough to allow Artur to land solid right hook to the side of his head. Alexander covered up quickly as he rolled down and backwards under the bottom rope. Referee Nelson had seen enough and called the bout to a halt at the 1:38 mark of round seven. Artur Beterbiev kept his perfect record intact with his ninth knockout win in as many bouts, while Alexander Johnson’s fell to (16-3, 7 KO’s).


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June 12, 2015




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