Vasyl Lomachenko was always supposed to beat Gamalier Rodriguez, a virtually unknown Puerto Rican fighter brought in to give the Uikrainian a showcase win on the Mayweather-Pacquiao undercard.
It was refreshing, then, when Rodriguez put up a surprisingly hard fight, even taking the first two rounds on the Bad Left Hook scorecard. As Lomachenko began to find his range and his openings, however, Rodriguez began to quickly flag. His confidence was damaged, too, when referee Robert Byrd began taking points for low blows--some of which didn't look all that low--and other somewhat rough tactics. After being dropped by a body shot in the 7th round, Rodriguez was barely surviving until a 9th round right hook put him on the canvas. He consciously stayed there as Byrd reached the count of ten, and you can't blame him.
Vasyl Lomachenko defeats Gamalier Rodriguez at 0:50 of Round 9
Here's our play-by-play of the final rounds:
Round 7: More right hand wizardry from Lomachenko at range. Two snappy jabs and then a sharp right uppercut. Decent right hand from Rodriguez there, and then a wide right to the body. Brilliant six punch combination from Lomachenko, working angles and sneaking in hard punches every time Rodriguez turns to catch up with him. Hard left to the body, and that hurt Rodriguez. He's desperately covering his liver now. Rodriguez takes a knee a few seconds later, and beats the count. Lomachenko charges after him after the reset, and hits Rodriguez with another vicious left hand to the body. Gamalier is crafty though, and he survives to see the 8th. 10-8 Lomachenko, 68-63
Round 8: Rodriguez catches a lucky break as Byrd has some of the grease removed from Lomachenko's face after the bell. That should give him time to rest and recover from that liver shot. Lomachenko taking more massive angles, the kind you only usually see in demonstrations against passive, unresisting partners. Rodriguez is so slow to pivot with him, Lomachenko gets off two or three punches before he can reguard. Another low blow from Rodriguez--though I wasn't sure about that one--and Byrd takes another point from the man who is already impossibly behind on the scorecards. Lomachenko seems to delight in making Rodriguez miss, and he's just enjoying his own defense now. Peppering Rodriguez with jabs and dancing around him. There was a vicious punch, though! Rodriguez ties up Lomachenko's arm, and Vasyl blasts him three times with the free hand--there's another professional style addition to his game. 10-8 Lomachenko, 78-71
Round 9: Two more crushing lefts to the body from Lomachenko to start this round--more to the solar plexus than the liver. Rodriguez resists, but he goes down on a right hook moments later, and decides not to get up until just after ten. Knockout victory for Lomachenko, and a flawless performance.