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Ryan Burnett vs. Emmanuel Rodriguez headed towards purse bid


By Tim Royner: IBF/WBA bantamweight champion Ryan Burnett (18-0, 9 KOs) will be facing his IBF mandatory challenger Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Rodriguez (17-0, 12 KOs) next, possibly on the undercard of Anthony Joshua vs. Joseph Parker on March 31 at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

A purse bid has been scheduled for February 12 at the International Boxing Federation’s headquarters at Springfield, New Jersey. According to Dan Rafael, Rodriguez’s promoters at Warriors Boxing want an immediate purse bid for the Burnett fight. There’s still an outside chance that Burnett’s promoters and Warriors Boxing could hammer out a deal before the scheduled purse bid on February 12th.

This is going to be a very tough fight for the 25-year-old Burnett, as the Puerto Rican Rodriguez is looking devastating right now with his punching power and talent. This is a considerable step up in class for Burnett from his last fight against former IBF 118 lb. champion Zhanat Zhakiyanov, who he beat by a 12 round unanimous decision on October 21 at The SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Burnett used a spoiling tactic of initiating repeated clinches in each round to keep the much harder punching Zhakiyanov from being able to get his shots off. Each round saw nonstop mauling by Burnett with him grabbing Zhakiyanov at the start of each round, and spending most of the time wrestling.

Most of the punches thrown by the two fighters during the match was with them holding onto each other in close. This favored Burnett, as Zhakiyanov needs room to get leverage on his shots. Burnett used the same tactics that Ricky Hatton employed against Kostya Tszyu many years ago in their fight in 2005. Hatton didn’t possess the offensive skills to defeat Tszyu in an actual stand up fight, so he took the contest to the inside and wrestled and mauled the Russian fighter in close.

It’s difficult to know how good Rodriguez, 25, is because he’s fought weak opposition his entire 6-year pro career in Puerto Rico.

Rodriguez’s recent wins have come against these fighters:

• Giovanni Delgado (16-5)

• Robinson Lavinanza (11-3-1)

• Alberto Guevara (24-2)

• Eliecer Aquino (17-1-1)

• Alex Rangel (16-4-2)

• Luis Hinojosa (27-8)

Rodriguez has done what he’s supposed to do in facing weak opposition in easily defeating them and looking very impressive. Rodriguez looks like the real deal in the talent and overall boxing skills department. What we don’t know is how he’ll deal with Burnett’s spoiling tactics. If Burnett chooses to turn the fight into a 12 rounds of nonstop mauling on the inside an Andre Ward type of a fight, Rodriguez would need to have the skills to deal with that kind of spoiling for him to win. The fight will be taking place in the UK. Rodriguez will be the visiting fighter.

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