This Saturday, November 23rd, touts a headline of heavyweight fighters. Yet the smaller weight division has quite the battle. Luis Nery (30-0, 24KOs) takes on Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-1, 12KOs) and the winner will become the mandatory challenger for the WBC Bantamweight belt. Rodriguez is coming off his first loss to Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16KOs) in the World Boxing Super Series. This is your classic southpaw vs orthodox matchup. Rodriguez has only faced one other southpaw in his pro career and Nery provides a much stiffer test. Let’s review both fighters and how they could have their hand raised come Saturday.
First off let’s review Emmanuel Rodriguez who was dismantled in the second round by Inoue. However, he is still a great fighter and posses a tough matchup for Nery. Although Rodriguez lacks the same knockout power as Nery he can make up for in countering and aggression. Rodriguez was able to show his skills when he beat Paul Butler to claim the IBF title last year before losing it to Inoue. He has decent durability and can take a punch. Rodriguez mentioned he has even made some changes in training to hop on Nery’s weaknesses. Fighting off the back foot is not his strength and he will look to pursue Nery throughout. Rodriguez must box and use his tactical skills to be victorious come Saturday.
Secondly, we have the undefeated Luis Nery who if he had a flaw it would be making weight. He has missed weight in the past and in a big way. It will be important he comes in on weight and be able to use his size to his advantage. Nery will most likely try to stalk Rodriguez early and often. With an 80% KO rate, he will be trying to land a big shot on the chin. Nery uses strength, stamina, his durability, and aggression to dominate his opponents. His weight on fight night will surely he on his side and should help him with any body shots thrown from Rodriguez. Nery will use his offense and ability to cut off the ring to control this fight.
Controversy has followed Nery in some aspects as he has missed weight and earlier in His career tested positive for a banned substance. Later the results showed it was due to contaminated food. Nonetheless he was banned from boxing in Japan. On the other hand, is Rodriguez ready for another fight of this caliber just six months out from his loss to Inoue? It will Be interesting to see his demeanor if he takes some early shots. I think this fight breaks down into parts and it starts with the weigh in.
First, Nery must make weight or else it may be time to move up to 122 pounds, in which his size/power are no longer his biggest advantage. Second, the mindset of Rodriguez and how he will handle coming off his first loss in the ring. Next, who will be more durable and take big shots from the other man. Lastly, can Rodriguez fight off the back foot as Nery will pressure him throughout and can Nery cut the ring off without getting countered.
MY PREDICTION: NERY BY LATE KNOCKOUT.