Commentary

Rodriguez outboxes George for win

Updated: March 18, 2012, 1:55 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

NEW YORK -- Edwin Rodriguez and Donovan George didn't put on the all-action fight many expected, but Rodriguez didn't need to make it a brawl as he easily outboxed George to win a clear unanimous decision in a 10-round super middleweight bout on the undercard of the Sergio Martinez-Matthew Macklin world middleweight championship fight Saturday night before a sold-out Theater at Madison Square Garden crowd of 4,671.

All three judges had it for Rodriguez, 99-91, 97-93 and 96-94. ESPN.com also had it for Rodriguez, 97-93. Rodriguez (21-0, 14 KOs), known as "La Bomba," and George, known as "Da Bomb," didn't land many bombs, although George especially tried to land his powerful right hand. But he landed precious few of them, as Rodriguez, 26, of Worcester, Mass., boxed and moved and clearly frustrated him.

"I feel great, a little tired, but happy," said Rodriguez, a former U.S. national amateur champion and one of the 168-pound division's rising talents. "[Trainer] Ronnie [Shields] gave me a 10. Since I've been with Ronnie, we've been working on my defensive game. I think I'm showing another dimension.

"I don't think I need to go out there and throw bombs for three minutes each round. I still need to improve, but overall I was pleased with my performance."

Rodriguez snapped a stiff jab to control the early rounds and began to mix in power shots as the fight wore on. He slipped most of the punches from the more aggressive George, who stunned Rodriguez momentarily in the third round with a solid right hand, his best punch.

George (22-2-1, 19 KOs), 27, of Chicago, looked frustrated in the later rounds, and in the final two rounds his corner was telling him he needed a knockout to win.

He went for it, and landed some solid shots, but Rodriguez -- who had former BALCO steroid mastermind Victor Conte in his camp for the first time -- was never in trouble as he traded with George for stretches of the 10th round.

"He didn't want to fight me," George said. "I couldn't catch him. He kept running. He had a game plan and he stuck to it. The game plan was to box and he did a good job. It was like a track meet. I came to fight."

• Oxnard, Calif.-based Russian heavyweight prospect Magomed Abdusalamov (14-0, 14 KOs), who is part of Sampson Lewkowicz's stable -- Lewkowicz is also the adviser for Sergio Martinez -- destroyed Jason Pettaway (11-1, 8 KOs) of Huntington, W.Va., stopping him in the fourth round. Abdusalamov punished Pettaway, who was bleeding from his nose in the third round and appeared to have trouble breathing because of the blood. Abdusalamov, a southpaw, landed several left hands that rocked his foe. In the fourth round, he landed a three-punch combination that dropped Pettaway. He was unsteady but was allowed to continue, and Abdusalamov landed a couple of more shots until referee David Fields stepped in at 1 minute, 20 seconds.

• Long Beach, N.Y, light heavyweight Seanie Monaghan (13-0, 8 KOs), with the crowd roaring for him, easily dominated Eric Watkins (6-2, 2 KOs) of Morgantown, W.Va., to win a lopsided six-round decision. Monaghan pounded Watkins to the body and could barely miss with his right hand, winning 60-54, 59-55 and 59-55.

• Junior middleweight Charlie Ota (20-1-1, 14 KOs), who is from Japan but lives in New York, stopped Gundrick King (16-8, 11 KOs) of Tuscaloosa, Ala., 35 seconds into the seventh round. The fight was all Ota, who dropped King in the sixth round and then dropped him to his knees in a corner early in the seventh, causing referee Arthur Mercante Jr. to call it off.

• Super middleweight Kevin Rooney Jr. (4-1, 2 KOs), the son of former Mike Tyson trainer Kevin Rooney Sr., blasted out Anthony Shuff (0-1) of Reidsville, N.C., at 1 minute, 27 seconds of the first round. Rooney, of Catskill, N.Y., who also works as a publicist for promoter Lou DiBella, trapped Shuff in a corner and landed repeated shots until the fight was stopped.

• Chicago junior welterweight Carl McNickles (8-3, 6 KOs) scored the mild upset with a six-round majority decision against Danny McDermott (9-4-2, 4 KOs) of Jersey City, N.J., 57-55, 57-55 and 56-56. It was an action fight all the way, and McDermott dropped McNickles right at the end of the first round. But then he went down himself from a McNickles straight right hand seconds into Round 2.

• Heavyweight Thomas Hardwick (5-0, 2 KOs), a native of Ireland living in New York, got the show started with a four-round decision against Tyrone Gibson (1-2, 1 KO) of Duluth, Minn. Hardwick scored a first-round knockdown and another in the third round, and won 39-35 on all three scorecards.