Jerwin Ancajas and Jonathan Rodriguez put on a show from the Mohegan Sun Arena. It was an absolute war and one of the best fights of 2021.
Jerwin Ancajas needed a big win on April 10 against Jonathan Rodriguez if he wanted a shot at the super flyweight elite. He got the W but should meet Rodriguez again because the action between them was so good.
Ancajas (33-1-2, 22 KOs) came into his showdown with little-known Rodriguez after a 16-month layoff. The IBF super flyweight champion from the Philippines has held his title for almost five years, but the 25-year-old Rodriguez from Mexico had Ancajas’s eight-fight title defense in serious jeopardy.
There were no fans at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT cheering them on, but those watching on Showtime witnessed another super flyweight war. It was only last month that champions Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez fought an epic battle, and Ancajas and Rodriguez followed their lead.
Rodriguez (22-2, 16 KOs) wasn’t expected to pose a huge threat to Ancajas because of the list of average opponents on his résumé, but his power and heart kept him in the fight when most people would have folded.
Ancajas controlled the first two rounds, but Rodriguez came alive in round 3 and started to exceed Ancajas’s punch output. The time away from the ring looked to impact Ancajas as he had a hard time avoiding Rodriguez’s punches.
The fight was close going into round 7, but Ancajas had an offensive explosion in round 8. Ancajas routinely connected with his lead left hook to Rodriguez’s body. With less than 30 seconds left, Ancajas hurt Rodriguez with that punch and followed it with a clubbing left hook that put Rodriguez down.
Jonathan Rodriguez exceeded expectations against Jerwin Ancajas, but the judges didn’t see him as the victor.
Rodriguez got up at the count of nine, and the bell rang shortly after. His corner was concerned and offered to stop the fight, but Rodriguez elected to continue.
Round 9 didn’t go much better for Rodriguez. Ancajas started to target Rodriguez’s head with his straight left and hurt Rodriguez four or five times throughout the round, but Rodriguez refused to go down. Ancajas went for the knockout but couldn’t get it. That would haunt him for the remainder of the fight.
Ancajas looked tired for the rest of the fight. He punched himself out to a small degree, which allowed Rodriguez to mount a comeback. Rodriguez was the busier fighter down the stretch and landed the more meaningful punches.
It’s astounding that Rodriguez got the better of Ancajas down the stretch, considering that he could barely stand in round 9. Rodriguez finished the fight on his feet and made it a very close fight.
The judges returned scores of 115-112, 116-111, and 117-110. The score of 115-112 is the most accurate, but 117-110 was absurd. Had Rodriguez not gone down in round 8, he could have won that fight. Two of the judges didn’t see this fight accurately.
Ancajas told FanSided after the fight that he thought he clearly won the fight. He did admit that the long time away from the ring negatively impacted his performance.
Ancajas retained his title for his ninth defense. Rodriguez is deserving of a rematch, but likely won’t get it because he was a mandatory challenger. The 29-year-old Ancajas looked rusty but thoroughly entertained in his victory.
Ancajas should fight at least one more time before he thinks about a unification bout or fighting an elite opponent like Chocolatito. Ancajas has talent but needs to get in more work to season him for the division’s best.