Misael Rodriguez dug deep to avoid his first defeat in a stiff battle versus a determined local prospect.
A major gut test was provided to Rodriguez, a 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist for Mexico who outlasted Aaron Guerrero over eight hard fought rounds. Scores 78-76, 77-76 and 77-76 of landed in favor of Rodriguez in their spirited middleweight battle Saturday evening at Polideportivo Juan S. Millan in Culiacan, Mexico.
Chihuahua’s Rodriguez entered the fight well-credentialed and under the guidance of trainer Robert Garcia and manager Rick Mirigian. None of that meant anything to Culiacan’s own Guerrero, who frequently had an answer for Rodriguez’s right hands. The locally based boxer found success with right hands of his own as he remained in his countryman’s face for much of the night.
Rodriguez eventually pulled ahead late in the fight to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. The 28-year-old prospect did little to suggest he is anywhere close to contention, which puts into light his callout of former WBO junior middleweight titlist and current top-rated middleweight Liam Smith. Still, he managed to leave the boxing-rich city of Culiacan as an undefeated fighter as he advanced to 13-0 (7KOS).
Guerrero (10-2-1, 6KOs) suffered his first defeat since a four-round points loss in his May 2018 pro debut.
Francisco Pina entered the biggest fight of his career guided by his country’s latest champion.
He left the ring with his unblemished record intact in an upset win over Alejandro Yung in their battle of unbeaten featherweights. Judges Ricardo Felix (77-75), Guadalupe Quintero (77-75) and Elva Mena (77-76) all scored the bout for Pina, a stablemate of WBA featherweight titlist Mauricio Lara who worked his corner for the DAZN-aired featherweight bout.
Yung (9-1, 5KOs) did his best to control the pace and distance as the taller fighter. Pina quickly closed the gap and consistently found a home for his left hook, a tribute to Lara who punched his way to the featherweight title stage just two weeks ago.
The tactical adjustment provided the necessary shift in momentum for Pina, who powered his way throughout the second half of the fight. Yung briefly turned the tide early in round eight when he caught Pina with an uppercut. Pina (6-0, 3KOs) shook off the blow and responded with a left hook and right hand en route to closing out the round and maintaining his slim lead on all three scorecards.
Criztec Bazaldua enjoyed a successful pro debut across the border.
The 18-year-old Los Angeles handily outboxed Mexico City’s Armando Bustamante over four rounds in their lightweight contest. All three judges scored the bout 40-36 for Bazuldua in their DAZN opener.
Bazuldua put his massive height and reach advantage to good use. The 6’1” lightweight used his jab to set up long, straight left hands including a well-timed shot on the chin of Bustamante (1-1, 0KOs) midway through round two.
The one-way bout saw Bazuldua work the body in round three. Bustamante was barely able to adjust to the power shots upstairs before he had to defend against left hands and right hooks downstairs but managed to go the four-round distance.
Headlining the show, streaking lightweight contender Angel Fierro (20-1-2, 16KOs) faces Eduardo Estela (14-1, 9KOs) in a scheduled ten-round contest.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox