Edwin Rodriguez remained unbeaten on Friday by winning what was perhaps the closest shutout in boxing history, slipping past Will Rosinsky at the MGM Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn.
Rodriguez won by scores of 100-90, taking all 10 rounds on the cards of judges Clark Sammartino, Glenn Feldman and Peter Hary, in a light heavyweight bout that seemed far closer. Yahoo! Sports favored Rodriguez 96-94.
Both fighters fought with a sense of urgency in the final round, believing that the outcome hung in the balance. Rodriguez seemed to win the 10th, but it was clear by the expression on his face post-fight that he wasn't sure who had won.
"The whole fight was close, a lot of close rounds," Rodriguez said. "It was a fight that I felt like I was winning by only a couple of points. I wanted to win the last round big because this is boxing and you never know what the judges have. I didn't think I was ever down, but I did think it was a close fight.
"I gave it all I had. Even if I knew that the scoring was the way it was, I would have still given that last round everything I had. That's how I spar, that's what I do in the gym, and that's what I do in the ring."
When ring announcer David Diamante announced the 100-90 scores, both fighters smirked. Rosinsky didn't believe he had won, but he did believe the fight was much tighter than a shutout.
The marks on Rodriguez's face afterward back that belief up.
"It was a competitive, close 7 [rounds to] 3 fight," said promoter Lou DiBella, who said that Rosinsky, his manager and trainer all told him they believed Rodriguez had won the fight. "Rosinsky is a tough kid, and he wouldn't quit. When is the last time you saw a pay-per-view main event that was better than that fight? Edwin showed what he is. He's an offensive machine who loves to go to war. He's still a work in progress, but I still believe he's going to be a world champion some day."
To win a title, he'll have to shore up his defense, because he won't be able to get hit by the likes of Lucian Bute, Carl Froch and Andre Ward and keep burrowing forward, as he did on Friday.
He showed his typically solid chin, but Rodriguez got the victory largely on the basis of his commitment to going to the body. He dug hard at Rosinsky's rib cage, particularly early in the fight, ripping punishing hooks to the midsection. But it didn't deter Rosinsky, an emergency medical technician in New York who stepped up his pressure in the fifth round.
Rosinsky managed to close the distance and was able to land a series of good shots in the middle of the fight that slowed Rodriguez and seemed to bring Rosinsky back into the fight.
Rodriguez improved to 20-0 and remained in contention for a championship bout sometime late next year or early in 2013, DiBella said. DiBella wants him to continue to work with new trainer Ronnie Shields on his defense.
But Rodriguez has big plans. He said he hopes he can meet either former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik or Super Six contestant Allan Green in his next outing.
"I want one of the top-10 guys," Rodriguez said. "I think I already faced a lot of prospects and some contenders. I think I'm ready for a top-10 guy, a former world champion, someone who will get me to the next level. I'm ready now."
- Edwin Rodriguez