Jerwin Ancajas retains IBF title against Jonathan Rodriguez
After staging an all-action fight, IBF World Super Flyweight champion Jerwin “Pretty Boy” Ancajas (33-1-2, 22 KO’s) retained his belt by way of unanimous decision. The win over Jonathan “Titan” Rodriguez (22-2, 16 KO’s) marked the ninth defense of his IBF strap. Ancajas has now held the belt, after defeating McJoe Arroyo, for four and a half years. This makes him the longest standing champion in the division.
Obviously, it is always a good thing to win and retain one’s belt. However, Ancajas was happy simply to slide in the ring. This bout with #3 (IBF) ranked mandatory challenger Rodriguez was his first fight in roughly sixteen months. Not only did Pretty Boy snap that stretch of inactivity, he officially broke in his new relationship with the PBC. Ancajas was formerly a fighter in the Top Rank stable yet he broke camp seeking greener pastures. Only time will reveal if that was a wise move or not.
The jab and straight right hand to the body of the southpaw champion told the story of the first round. Ancajas immediately began pursuing the back pedaling Titan working behind them. In the second, the champ added nasty hooks to the bruising equation and picked up his pace. In response, Rodriguez raised his intensity and began throwing uppercuts like Iron Mike in the 8-bit game. When he threw and connected, the Mexican landed hard, thudding uppercuts and hooks mainly to the head. While the quality of his work was good, Ancajas maintained a higher, peskier work rate.
The two fighters exchanged a number of damaging shots in the closing seconds of the fourth. It was clear that they respected the work as they tapped gloves at the conclusion of the period. Rodriguez’s activity dipped a bit in the fifth. Then, just like that, the bout broke out into a full-fledged phonebooth brawl in the sixth. They essentially put their foot in a tire and winged punishing hooks for three minutes. Neither man neglected the body.
Unsurprisingly, the champ thought better of resuming the naked warfare of the sixth. Instead he opted to resume using his legs to stick and move. The tactic served him well and he dominated the round with the lead jab and religious dedication to the body. The Titan remained competitive but was once again being outworked. Ancajas smelled blood in the eighth as his brave Mexican opponent was beginning to wilt. In response, the champ began attacking the body with ferocity. In the closing moments, the torso torment forced Rodriguez to take a knee. He rose at the count of eight and finished without further mishap.
BETTER THAN ADVERTISED
In the ninth, rather than being stopped, as was the expectation, the Titan displayed a world class level chin and heart. After eating several stunning, head-wobbling shots he would draw his line in the sand and willingly get into another firefight with Ancajas. While not as intense as earlier, the action was free-flowing. At about the half-way point, the Mexican was pierced with a right hook to the body that froze him and almost forced a knee. Rodriguez gritted his teeth and soldiered through it.
Then, in true Hollywood fashion, in the tenth, Rodriguez caught a second wind as Ancajas looked like he could use a blow. Over the course of the final two rounds, the action evened but never slowed. When the fight was over, before the scorecards were read, both fighters hugged and displayed tremendous respect for one another. When the cards were read, Ancajas was named the winner and thankfully the respect did not disappear.
Coming into the fight, Rodriguez was nowhere near as known as Ancajas. Yet, on this side of the bout, there is no question that he earned great esteem and interest. Even in defeat there will be a demand to see him fight again. Now, with this difficult title defense put behind him, Ancajas will look to unify with his fellow super flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (WBO) or Juan Francisco Estrada (WBC and WBA).
By: Bakari Simpson