Felix Verdejo decisions Jose Luis Rodriguez in San Juan
Lightweight Felix Verdejo may have spoiled boxing fans with spectacular knockout wins over the last couple of years.
Based on the two fights Verdejo has fought this year, some wonder where that power has gone.
Verdejo easily defeated Jose Luis Rodriguez on Saturday night by decision over 10 rounds before a hometown crowd of 6,626 at the Coliseo Roberto Clemente in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
With the win, Verdejo improves to 21-0 (14 knockouts). Rodriguez drops to 18-9 (11 KOs).
In his previous fight, on Feb. 27, Verdejo won a one-sided decision over William Silva. While Verdejo dominated most of the action, some wondered why he was content to outbox Silva rather than aggressively push the fight.
In a recorded interview that aired on the UniMas “Solo Boxeo Tecate” broadcast before the Verdejo-Rodriguez fight, Verdejo admitted he did not fight to his best, missing Silva with punches he would normally land.
Rodriguez, who resides in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, took the fight on two weeks’ notice when original opponent Daniel Evangelista dropped out of the fight due to tendinitis. Rodriguez had won four bouts in a row against mostly limited opposition prior to the Verdejo fight.
Verdejo looked solid early on against Rodriguez. Verdejo landed combination after combination from the outside, utilizing his ring generalship and never giving Rodriguez any opportunity to get off first.
That changed by the middle rounds as Rodriguez was able to close the gap. He landed more, especially with right hands to Verdejo’s head.
By the sixth round, Verdejo seemed to regain control, making the adjustment by keeping Rodriguez at the end of his punches and not allowing him to get inside.
Sensing he was down late in the fight, Rodriguez went for broke, walking Verdejo down and finding success with right hands upstairs and even drawing blood from Verdejo’s mouth in round nine. Rodriguez threw wild left hooks and rights to the head, which Verdejo easily countered, in the final round.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Verdejo, 99-91 twice and 98-92.
Verdejo is scheduled to return to the ring on June 11 inside The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Jose Felix Jr. was scheduled to face Verdejo but word is the Mexican fighter may have priced himself out of the fight.
Diaz decisions Ximenez
Featherweight Christopher Diaz won a hard-fought and closer-than-expected eight-round unanimous decision over Ray Ximenez.
Diaz improves to 16-0 (10 KOs) while Ximenez drops to 13-1 (4 KOs).
Diaz, a stablemate of Verdejo, landed the more telling blows throughout the fight. Ximenez, who resides in Dallas, Texas, had his moments, especially in landing a lead or counter right hand that got Diaz’s attention.
Both stood in the pocket at times, throwing combinations that produced excellent exchanges. Ximenez was at his best throwing multiple combinations while he walked Diaz back against the ropes but seemed to lose zip on his punches in rounds seven and eight.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Diaz, 77-75, 78-74 and an atrocious 80-72, which did not reflect the competitiveness of the fight.
In non-televised action, junior featherweight Jean Carlos Rivera (6-0, 3 KOs) won a six round unanimous decision over Harold Reyes (2-4-1). Scores were 58-54 twice and 57-55 for Rivera.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since Oct. of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper, RingTV and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.