Tonight's edition of ESPN Friday Night Fights starts at 9 p.m. EDT on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com, with a 10-round main event in the junior middleweight division. Pay no mind to the poster from Star Boxing, as this is in no way, shape, or form for anything that could even be confused for the junior middleweight championship.
Wolak (29-1, 19 KO) is a come-forward pressure fighter who tends to make for good fights, and often has had a habit of fighting up and down to his opponent. In his last bout on March 12, Wolak demolished former Top Rank media pet and ex-charity titlist Yuri Foreman with relative ease on the Cotto vs Mayorga undercard, battering the light-punching Foreman into submission after six rounds of one-way action.
Rodriguez (25-5-2, 14 KO) has had a hard luck sort of career. He's just 2-3-1 in his last six, but you really can argue he should be 6-0 in that stretch. His draw and loss to Isaac Hlatshwayo were debatable, as were losses to Rafal Jackiewicz and Ashley Theophane.
All of those fights took place at 147 pounds, and this will be the Connecticut native's first step at 154. Wolak is the favorite tonight, and with a win could keep himself in the conversation at junior middleweight, but at times it almost seems like Top Rank is trying to hide him, which is funny -- he fights hard, he's got a crowd-pleasing style, he's got a natural fanbase in New Jersey (which has made Tomasz Adamek an American star), and he's got a charismatic, easygoing personality. If the machine had ever been behind Pawel Wolak, he could have been a star with the exact same schedule he's kept thus far.
In tonight's co-feature, Raymond "Tito" Serrano (15-0, 8 KO) faces Daniel Sostre (11-3-1, 4 KO) in welterweight action. Serrano is a 22-year-old prospect out of Philadelphia. If we get a swing fight, expect to see Star Boxing P.R. guy Kevin Rooney Jr (1-0, 0 KO) on TV for the second time. He got a great crowd reaction for his pro debut in Connecticut, but is clearly not a serious fighter or someone to concern yourself with for the long haul.
Bad Left Hook will have live coverage of this show, and later tonight live coverage of the Diego Magdaleno-headlined ShoBox. It'll be four hours or so of boxing coverage!