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Rodriguez Stops Escalera in Eight!

Ringside Report by Scott Ploof and Dave Spencer
Photography By Emily Harney

Undefeated Worcester, MA super middleweight, Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez (22-0, 15KOs), who moved one step closer towards his opportunity to fight for a world championship, kept his record perfect as he stopped previously unbeaten Jason Escalera (13-1-1, 12 KOs) at 0:12 seconds of round number eight in the main event of Saturday night’s HBO “Boxing After Dark” from the MGM Grand Theatre at Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Mashantucket, CT.  Referee Steve Smoger stopped the bout after Rodriguez landed three unanswered shots on Escalera.  Rodriguez dominated the fight with his reach advantage, punching power, and defense.  He had Escalera hurt and almost down in three different rounds only to be saved by the bell.  Referee Smoger stopped the bout for Escalera’s safety after he received continued punishment from Rodriguez.   The eight bout fight card was promoted by DiBella Entertainment.

Rodriguez came on extremely strong in the first round and fired many punches at Escalera that had him on wobbly legs early.  Towards the middle and end of the round, it appeared that Rodriguez was going to stop him right then and there; however Escalera dug down deep and was barely able to survive the round. “I was really surprised that he was able to get out of the first round,” said Rodriguez after the fight.  “He is definitely a strong kid, tough, with raw power.  He is an easy kid to predict.”

“La Bomba” took a slightly different approach and slowed down after his explosive first round on Escalera.  He took his time, measured his punches, and waited for Escalera to throw a punch only for Rodriguez to counter his attack in round two. 

As the fight progressed during the middle rounds of the contest, Rodriguez used his jab and reach advantage to measure Escalera with straight lefts and hooks, which gave Escalera trouble all night long.  In rounds five and six, Rodriguez both times almost had Escalera on the canvas but the tough heart and determination from Escalera kept him in the fight barely as each round came to a close.

Escalera to his credit came on strong in round seven as he was throwing hooks and combinations at Rodriguez.  Rodriguez landed a strong right hook, which caused Escalera to start throwing wildly at “La Bomba.”  Rodriguez eventually backed Escalera into the corner and having him right where he wanted him, he delivered a barrage of combinations on his opponent, but Escalera was able to fight out of danger and survive the seventh, however it was evident that Escalera was in deep trouble. 

Finally the knockout came early in the eighth round when Edwin landed a straight right and then a left hook on Escalera, when referee Steve Smoger stepped in and called a halt to the bout just 0:33 seconds into the round.  With the victory, “La Bomba” remains undefeated and in title contention, while Escalera was handed his first professional defeat.
After the bout, Rodriguez stated to the media that, “We definitely want one of the top ten guys in our next fight, definitely Kelly Pavlik.  I wanted to send a message to the super middleweight division tonight and my performance speaks for itself.”

FightNews also had a chance to speak with referee Steve Smoger concerning the eighth round stoppage. Smoger, who is highly regarded as one of the best officials in all of boxing, had this to say regarding the eighth round stoppage , “Edwin was catching him well during the fight but Escalera kept fighting back, he just kept fighting back.  I noticed the progression that each shot was hurting Escalera more and more.  Did you see him wiggle?  I didn’t realize that it was the eighth round already because at the end of each round, Edwin would come on and deliver hard shots on Escalera, even though the kid was fighting back, but there comes a time when the fighter is responding or not.  The doctor told me that anything significant that happens in the eighth, that the fight is over, and the flurry from Edwin early in the round was significant. I was listening to the doctors for four rounds. The stoppage came after Edwin cut Escalera’s right ear on his final punch. I’m very proud of Edwin, but Escalera showed that he belonged in the league, but just needs a little more seasoning.” – Scott Ploof

Darchinyan Decisions Del Valle

Former three time world champion Vic Darchinyan (38-5, 27KOs) added another accolade to his resume as he scored a dominant unanimous decision victory over a game Luis Orlando Del Valle (16-1, 11KOs) to claim the vacant NABF super bantamweight title.  Scores of the bout were 99-91 twice and 96-94 in an all action bout.  Darchinyan out landed Del Valle and dominated him with his awkward style and powerful punching.  He slipped away from many of Del Valle’s punches and was able to pick his shots and counter on many exchanges which made the difference that gave Darchinyan the nod.
Darchinyan and Del Valle were trying to find openings in round one.  Darchinyan landed a solid left to the body of Del Valle with his back against the ropes.  This caused Del Valle to throw several punches and start slugging it out with Darchinyan early.  Darchinyan landed a nice combination to end the round.

With his hands by his side and his awkward style, Darchinyan began to start to frustrate his opponent. A nice left put Del Valle back into the corner.  Darchinyan and Del Valle both were throwing hard punches at the end of the round but the 11 year veteran Darchinyan got the better of the exchanges.

Del Valle started out round three with a short right hook, and landed some decent shots on Darchinyan who appeared to be tired from the previous action packed rounds.  Darchinyan landed a few times to the body of his opponent and was able to slip away from the aggressive Del Valle at the end of the fourth.

Right where he left off during the middle rounds, Darchinyan used his awkward style, got back to basics, and began to pick Del Valle apart.  Del Valle’s eyes began to swell from the combinations Darchinyan landed earlier in the fight. Darchinyan had his opponent stunned in the sixth but Del Valle was able to regain his composure.  Darchinyan was successful in close in round seven when he came up with a huge uppercut and right hook that had Del Valle in trouble once again.

Both fighters appeared to be getting tired in round eight as they were clinching each other and landing to the ribs before the referee break.  Del Valle landed two straight punches which were then subsequently countered by Darchinyan.
Del Valle continued to fall into Darchinyan’s trap of allowing his opponent to throw so he can land a strong counter.  He kept stalking Del Valle and as he backed him into the ropes, Darchinyan continued to pick his spots on his way toward the unanimous decision victory.

“I am back! I feel really good at this weight and I feel strong. We worked very hard for this fight and he is a tough kid, but I felt that I was in a different class from him,” said Darchinyan after words.    
Afterwards Del Valle had this to say about the fight, “I am very disappointed and he was extremely awkward. I let him impose his style and he got his confidence early. Every time I went inside he held me.  My hat is off to him as he was the better man tonight.” – Scott Ploof

Decarie Stops Perez

Antonin Decarie (27-1 8KO) scored big with a TKO victory at 2:54 of the sixth round destroying previously unbeaten Alex Perez (16-1 9KO) with a TKO victory at 2:54 of the sixth round. Decarie was the more active and accurate of the two fighters found a home for his right hand most of the night scored big with left hook and followed it with a flush right a Perez was reeling backwards into the ropes. Perez managed to get up but the Montreal fighter managed to close the show with sharp accurate punches forcing referee Danny Schiavone to step in and rescue Perez.

“I had to go for it,” said Decarie, the WBC #7 ranked welterweight in the world, of the opportunity where Perez didn’t go down initially but he left himself open for what resulted to a free follow-up shot. “It would have been better if he had taken a knee, but he tried to stay up and I just went for it and thank God I connected.”

"I feel awesome," Decarie said after the fight, "We had a great training camp and worked on the right hand because we knew it was something we could land. Once I started landing it in the fight, I knew I could hurt him with it."

Hurt him he did, as early as the second round Decarie delivered a series of right hands, snapping back the head of the six footer.  He simply couldn’t let his hands go, and never was able to get on track. When Perez finally tried to start returning some fire in the third round, Decarie nimble movement had the Newark NJ fighter coming up short by an appreciable margin.

The 30 year-old Decarie was able to sweep all the rounds on the scorecards but admitted to being nervous going in.
Decarie said afterwards, “I had lots of butterflies. I was in his town, he lives close to here. It was in the United States, it was on HBO, it was against an undefeated fighter. My friends all told me, we put a lot of money on you, the odds are 5 to 1, I told them no problem, it’s money in the bank, but I was very nervous. The important thing was to win and win big and get another shot on HBO. In boxing you’re only as good as your last fight, right now everybody is happy but you have to stay focused and keep doing the job.” – Dave Spencer      

O’Connor Dominates Sosa

Framingham, MA native Danny O'Connor (18-1, 6 KOs), who has changed into a more complete fighter by working with Ronnie Shields, put on a boxing clinic as he defeated Josh Sosa (10-4, 5 KOs) when referee Eddie Cotton stepped in and stopped the bout at 0:33 seconds of round three in a scheduled eight round super lightweight contest. O'Connor was relentless to the body of Sosa all night long.  He utilized his jab to open up combinations on Sosa.  He continued to break Sosa down as his opponent kept his back against the ropes.  O'Connor landed vicious combinations early in round three which caused the stoppage. – Scott Ploof

Kielezweski Decisions McLaurin

Super featherweight Ryan Kielezweski (14-0 2KO) began slowly but gradually amped up the pressure to stay undefeated to score a 60-54, 60-54, 59-55 victory over Jeremy McLaurin (9-4 5KO) of Coon Rapids Minnesota. Both fighters remained untouched in the first round but the "Polish Prince" got things underway in the second, feinting his opponent into the corner and ripping a left to the body and a right to the head. Kielezweski never applied any sustained pressure but was able to score in spots, a solid double left hook in the third drew cheers from the fighter’s large fan contingent and another left in he fourth managed to rock McLaurin momentarily onto his heels but there was no follow up.

The Quincy Mass. fighter continued touching his opponent and finally over the last thirty seconds finally opened up and landed some telling blows to finish of the fight and add some intensity to what otherwise was a non-eventful match-up. – Dave Spencer

Rosa Stops Valenzuela

Super bantamweight Luis Rosa (11-0, 6 KOs) kept his perfect record intact as he stopped New Jersey's Victor Valenzuela (8-4, 1 KO) at 1:21 of round six when Valenzuela's corner stopped the bout.   Both fighters were aggressive throughout the contest as referee Eddie Cotton had to admonish both fighters twice. He deducted each fighter a point due to low blows by both Rosa and Valenzuela in round four. Rosa consistently beat Valenzuela to the punch.  After Rosa dominated pretty much the entire fight, Valenzuela’s corner had seen enough and motioned to the commissioner to stop the fight. – Scott Ploof

Lamonakis Decisions Daniels

Massachusetts native Sonya Lamonakis (7-0-2, 1 KO) won a hard fought majority decision over Tanzee Daniels (4-2-1, 1 KO) in a six female heavyweight matchup. Scores of the bout were 59-55 twice and 57=57. Both fighters fought in close but Lamonakis landed more uppercuts and body shots than Daniels. Some rounds were close but in the end Lamaonakis got the nod. – Scott Ploof      

Chilemba Decisions Saunders

Light heavyweight Issac Chilemba (20-1-1, 9 KOs) dominated his opponent Rayco Saunders (22-17-2, 9 KOs) over eight rounds. All three judges scored the bout 80-72 in a shutout. Chilemba utilized his jab early to land several combinations to the body of Saunders.  As the fight progressed Chilemba continued to outland Saunders in every round. Saunders would stand in the ring and take a punch to give one, but Chilemba was able to slip and counter his way to a unanimous decision victory. – Scott Ploof