Pawel Wolak and Delvin Rodriguez put on what might as well have been a new Arturo Gatti vs Micky Ward fight tonight at the Roseland Ballroom in New York, going to a majority draw in the main event of Friday Night Fights.
Wolak (29-1-1, 19 KO) and Rodriguez (25-5-3, 14 KO) battled tooth-and-nail for 10 brutal rounds, and wound up with two cards of 95-95, and one that tipped 97-93 to Rodriguez. Bad Left Hook scored the fight 95-95.
Rodriguez, 31, landed some nasty, accurate shots that eventually led to an ugly hematoma on the 29-year-old Wolak. Here's a post-fight shot I grabbed with my phone from the TV, just so you can see the injury we're talking about here:
But no matter how hard Rodriguez hit Wolak, or how well Rodriguez targeted the bad eye, the Polish crowd favorite just would not stop coming forward. His pressure was truly relentless, as he never took a step back, always coming straight at Rodriguez -- legs squared up, head down, and constantly attacking. Wolak may well have set some records tonight for punch output in the 154-pound division, as he threw an incredible amount of punches over the 10 rounds, which just grew more and more dramatic as the fight went on, with round nine being a Round of the Year contender. Rodriguez battered Wolak in that round, but even with just one good eye, Wolak came roaring back at Rodriguez.
Words simply cannot do this fight justice, so make sure you catch a replay on ESPN3.com, or when the fight hits YouTube. For me, this is the new Fight of the Year leader, but your mileage may vary. This was a truly great fight, a pure war from the opening bell, featuring two hungry, determined fighters looking to make their mark. I think you can all but book the rematch for one of Top Rank's pay-per-views this fall, with Cotto vs Margarito seeming like it would make more sense than Pacquiao vs Marquez, especially if the former lands at Madison Square Garden.
Hats off to Pawel Wolak and Delvin Rodriguez for tonight's tremendous fight.
Undercard: Raymond Serrano won an eight-round decision in a somewhat sloppy fight over Daniel Sostre. The fight had some good action and was interesting to watch play out, so those interested in Serrano as a prospect who watch the replay, don't just skip over that one to get to the main event. Serrano showed his strengths and weaknesses in this one, and Sostre didn't come to get rolled over tonight.