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Emmanuel Rodriguez defeats Paul Butler – Results

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By Scott Gilfoid: Undefeated Emmanuel Rodriguez (18-0, 12 KOs) was far too good for Paul Butler (26-2, 14 KOs) in beating him by a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision to capture the vacant IBF bantamweight title on Saturday night at the O2 Arena in London, England. The scores were 118-108, 120-106, and 120-106.

It’s interesting that one of the judges had the 29-year-old Butler winning two rounds in the fight, as he took a real beating and came close to winning no rounds. Boxing News 24 had Rodriguez winning a shut out 12-0 in terms of rounds. Butler is a good fighter normally, but he was just a punching bag tonight. His beak was a bloody mess and his face swollen up. Butler’s trainer wanted to pull him out of the fight in the 11th, but he wanted nothing to do with quitting. As such, the beating went on for two rounds longer than it should have.

In the 1st round, Rodriguez dropped Butler twice with hard shots. It was lucky for Butler that he made it out of the round because he was getting thrashed.

After the 1st round, Rodriguez chose to box Butler by using his jab and right hand to give him a clinical beating. Rodriguez showed no sense of urgency at any time in the fight, because if he had poured it on, he would have knocked him out easily. Rodriguez was hitting Butler with everything he was throwing in the fight.

Literally everything Rodriguez threw was hitting Butler, and it wasn’t even a fair fight. It looked like a gross mismatch. Butler’s prominent beak took the worst of it, as it was bleeding like a sieve and there wasn’t much that could be done to stop the blood. Butler’s defense was horrible, and Rodriguez never got tired from hitting him. The accuracy of Rodriguez’s punches and the effortless manner that he delivered them was a thing of beauty.

Butler came in overweight by 3 pounds at last Friday’s weigh-in, so only Rodriguez was eligical to win the IBF bantamweight title tonight. Butler’s weight was 121 ½ lbs. It’s unclear what happened to him. All I can say is perhaps the 124 that Butler weighed in for his previous fight against Jefferson Vargas might have made it hard for him to get back down to the bantamweight limit of 118 lbs.

Ryan Burnett vacated his IBF 118 lb. title rather than fight Rodriguez. In hindsight, I think Burnett made the correct decision by giving up his IBF strap, because if he had fought Rodriguez tonight, he would have been royally thrashed just like Butler.

Even if Burnett had chosen to clinch like mad and wrestle to stall out the rounds like he’d done with his win over Zhanat Zhakiyanov, he still would have lost badly to Rodriguez in my opinion. Rodriguez is so much better than Burnett that it’s not even funny.

It’ll be interesting to see if Burnett’s promoter Eddie Hearn will look to put him in with Rodriguez in a unification fight. I don’t see it happening, but it would show a lot of courage for Burnett to take that fight. Given that Burnett vacated his IBF title to avoid fighting Rodriguez, I can’t see him and Hearn agreeing to take a fight with him in a trillion years. That’s a fight that will never ever happen.

Rodriguez’s performance looked good enough to where I would pick him to beat WBO bantamweight champion Zolani Tete and former 2 division world champion Naoya Inoue. I see Rodriguez beating both of those guys. Inoue is a good fighter, but he’s never had to deal with anyone with the kind of talent as the Puerto Rican fighter Rodriguez. This guy is the real deal.

As for Butler, I’m not sure where he goes from here. Hearn looked angry tonight in watching Rodriguez school Butler for 12 rounds. I don’t know what Hearn can do with Butler other than bring him back to the domestic level and hope that he’s not shot from tonight’s beating. Hopefully for Butler’s sake, he’s not washed up after tonight’s thrashing. The fight probably should have been stopped by the 6th when it became clear that Butler stood absolutely zero chance of winning. Butler stuck it out and took a beating tonight.


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