In a Fight of the Year candidate, a raucous and rowdy New York City crowd at the Roseland Ballroom couldn’t stop screaming and chanting over 10 brutal rounds, as Delvin Rodriguez and Pawel Wolak fought to a draw. Both sides were disappointed with the verdict, however a draw was fitting for the intense back and forth action. Be sure to check out our huge collection of pictures from the event from ringside, some video clip highlights, and a full recap of the fights below.
The Raging Bull came out of the gates strong and fast, and was using his pressure and “bulling” tactics to get the best of Rodriguez. After just a few rounds, it appeared that Wolak was going to wear Rodriguez down. Delvin enjoyed a huge height and reach advantage however, even though it was his first fight in the junior middleweight division, and so was able to use his ranginess to land clean blows, crisp combinations and beautiful counter shots.
Wolak stayed right on Rodriguez all night, and although you could say that Delvin was “fighting better” in the early going, he was getting the worst of things, and Wolak looked to be on his way to a stoppage win. The fight was a true Fight of the Year candidate, with nonstop action from start to finish filling up all three minutes of every round.
The crowd certainly appreciated it, with dueling chants of “Delvin! Delvin!” from the pro-Rodriguez contingent, and “Wolak! Wolak!” from the Polish fans. The crowd was out in more force for Rodriguez, and the crowd appeared to help their man, continually re-energizing him when it looked like he might be running out of steam or confidence.
Rodriguez has absolutely no give up, and continued to battle and land his clean shots. His dedication enabled him to create a terrible swelling over Wolak’s right eye, reminiscent of the hideous bumps that fighters like Hasim Rahman have gotten in the past.
This was worse for Wolak though, as it was directly on top of his eye, and impeded his vision. He wasn’t able to avoid Rodriguez’s shots as well – not that defense was ever his priority in the fight – and Rodriguez continued to target the swelling and pepper it with shots. The swelling and the ability to hit Wolak more effectively boosted Rodriguez’s confidence and gave him even more fury.
At the end of 10 vicious rounds filled with nothing but grueling back-and-forth battling, early impressions at ringside were that Rodriguez was able to do enough for the win. He took over in the second half of the contest, and landed crisper shots throughout. Wolak was able to do a lot of damage, but the eye impeded his progress, although he never stopped charging straight forward. The scorecards though read 97-93 for Rodriguez, and 95-95 twice, for a Majority Draw. Wolak now stands at 29-1-1, and Rodriguez’s record is now 25-5-3.
The two fighters were gracious and continued to show their mutual respect for one another after the bout, and fight fans at the Roseland were only clamoring for them to do it again. Rodriguez showed why he is an ESPN2 mainstay and one of the best TV fighters and fan-friendly fighters out there, while Wolak continued to prove his worth as an action brawler.
Rodriguez vs. Wolak Photo Gallery
Rodriguez vs. Wolak Videos
In the first video clip below, you can check out the introductions for Rodriguez and Wolak before their bout. The crowd was going packed, and while each man had a strong contingent of supporters, more people were wildly in support of Delvin Rodriguez.
Some early round fight action between Wolak and Rodriguez, with Rodriguez seeking to stay rangy and counter punch, and Wolak looking to bull forward…
In this clip of highlights and fight action, you can see Wolak’s eye beginning to swell up. It of course would get even worse, but you can see that it’s starting to get bad as the two trade in close quarters.
In Earlier Action…
Undefeated Philadelphia prospect Raymond Serrano kept his mark intact by winning a tougher than expected unanimous decision over Harlem’s Dainel Sostre. Serrano improved to 16-0 but had to fight for every inch in the ring, with Sostre holding up to his shots and landing heavy return fire.
Sostre fell to 11-4-1 while showing great heart and grit, and Serrano will go back to the gym either needing to work on his defense or game plan in the ring, or work on simply showing up as more focused and ready to go for all opponents. It seemed like Serrano was more surprised than anyone at the toughness and tactics of Sostre, and didn’t have any options besides slugging it out, which wasn’t always to his advantage. Serrano won by scores of 78-74, 78-74, and 77-75.
In the first professional bout of the evening, Kevin Rooney Jr. made quick work of his limited 0-1 opponent, Elmer Vera. To the delight of the crowd, Rooney decked him with a left hook at the end of the first round, and then followed up and got the stoppage win. Rooney is now 2-0, and by the main event, Rodriguez-Wolak, was back at ringside performing his PR duties for Star Boxing.