On Saturday, in what is being called the fight of the year, Francisco Rodriguez managed to unify the WBO and IBF minimumweight world titles by defeating Katsunari Takayama by unanimous decision.
The win allowed the 21-year-old Francisco Rodriguez Jr. (15-2, 10 KOs) to become the No. 1 strawweight in the world.
The fight opened with strong attacks from both fighters. It was clear that the Mexican’s strategy was to attack the body, but it was Rodriguez’s left hook that particularly seemed to surprise Takayama.
The first two rounds of the fight were even. While “Lightning” Takayama was living up to his nickname with a speed attack, Rodriguez seemed to keep up.
The third round opened with a vicious uppercut from Rodriguez that sent his opponent to the mat but not for long.
In the fourth round, Takayama came back and began to pepper Rodriguez with punches, seemingly hitting him at will. By many scorecards, it appeared he had won Rounds 4 through 7.
Round 8 offered a turnaround as Rodriguez initially began by offering to touch gloves. Takayama used the opportunity to land a cheap shot to the back of Chihuas’ ear and forced him to the ground. The disrespect seemed to fuel Rodriguez who seemed to regain a second life in the match. The final minute of the eighth round single-handedly vaulted the match from “great” to “legendary” as neither fighter could back the other up.
This continued for the next four rounds.
The final round saw both men going for the win, with neither wanting it to go to the scorecards which it did.
The scorecards were read and Rodriguez Jr. was announced the winner by a tally of 115-112, 116-111 and 119-108.
If boxing needed a new savior, as Bleacher Report, phrased it, this match gave them a pair.
Source: Bleacher Report