Close Win for Edwin Rodriguez over Aaron Pryor Jr.; Manfredo Manhandles Edouard

By John G. Thompson: Aaron Pryor, Jr. 15-3 (11 KO’s) made it a tough night and exposed some defensive flaws in the up and coming Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez 18-0 (13 KO’s) this evening on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights series. Headlining the card, “The Pride of Providence” Peter Manfredo, Jr. 37-6 (20 KO’s) faced off against Daniel “The Haitian Sensation” Edouard 23-4-2 (14 KO’s) at Mallory Square in Key West, Florida.

Rodriguez pressed the action from the opening bell, while Pryor immediately set out to establish his presence as an outside fighter who would tie things up inside. After three close and somewhat uneventful rounds which probably went to Rodriguez for his aggression, Pryor landed a huge right to Edwin’s head in the fourth. Rodriguez seemed unaffected and continued to press the action; however, Pryor displayed more aggression himself from that point on. Pryor took the fifth after Rodriguez came in with a body shot and son of the great Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor responded with two vicious rights.

Pryor was visibly talking to Rodriguez in the sixth. His confidence was up, he was landing on his opponent, and Rodriguez was beginning to look as though he could not overcome Pryor’s game plan. However, referee Sam Burgos helped Rodriguez out in the eighth round by deducting a point from Pryor for an elbow. Burgos had sternly warned Pryor earlier for blatantly hitting on a break. In this instance, the foul was less obvious and perhaps not worthy of a point deduction.

Pryor came out firing in the ninth, catching Rodriguez going straight back and landing a combination to his face. Rodriguez came back strong in the tenth and final round, backing Pryor up and throwing hard hooks. The final ten seconds of the match produced great action as both men exchanged toe to toe. Edwin Rodriguez won a unanimous decision with scores of 96-93 (my score as well), 98-91, and 97-92.

Both Peter Manfredo, Jr. and Daniel Edouard (who, coincidentally, were born just three days apart) boast impressive resumes with names like Joe Calzaghe, Sakio Bika, Jeff Lacy, Willie Gibbs, Sergio Mora, and Jermain Taylor. Both men, in another similarity, have been knocked out two times each.

The first three rounds were close, though ringside commentator Teddy Atlas had them all for Edouard. In round four, Edouard came on strong throwing hooks with both hands, landing with some, and backing Manfredo into the ropes. This was not to be his round for long. During a clinch, Edouard seemed to look off at his corner then back at Manfredo as they were breaking. Edouard never saw the right which sent him down in one of those beautiful delayed reactions where he was clearly out on his feet for a second. Edouard got up at eight and made it through the round, though the fight was lost to him at this point.

In round five Manfredo came out firing, backing Edouard into the ropes, though Edouard weathered the storm. Manfredo went to work in the fifth and sixth, and really did some damage in the seventh. Edouard’s mouth had been bleeding since the second or third round, and with his right eye swelling shut he looked busted up during the eighth. Edouard gave it a good go in the ninth, pressing forward and throwing just about everything he had left.

In the beginning of the tenth round, Teddy Atlas said, “His body is not there. His spirit is great,” referring to Edouard’s heart in coming forward, attempting to engage Manfredo, but not having enough left in the tank to mount any meaningful offence. The judges scored the bout unanimously for Manfredo with one scoring it 97-92, and the other two 98-91 (also my score).

Article posted on 15.01.2011

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