David Rodela Defeats Eric Cruz on Exciting Evening at Fight Night Club

May 28, 2010

Los Angeles, California - Despite the presence of a Los Angeles Lakers playoff game just across the street, nearly 2,000 fight fans filled Club Nokia in downtown Los Angeles for a great night of boxing action in an informal club venue.

Headlined by David Rodela, Frankie Gomez, and Jose Navarro, the fight card provided several exciting and competitive fights, save for one bout which resulted in an early knockout.

The event was promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, and Oscar De La Hoya himself showed up at the venue.

With Fight Night Club, Golden Boy has attempted to take the sport of boxing into the Facebook Age with a more interactive feel. The venue is intimate, a DJ spins music during the fights, and McDonald’s passes out free iced frappacinos to those in attendance. Best of all, there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Even the bathroom attendant can literally see the ring.

Here is TheDailySportsHerald's ringside account of the action:

Main Event: David Rodela v. Eric Cruz (Lightweights)

In the main event, David Rodela of Oxnard, California, won a majority decision victory over Eric Cruz, a tough guy from Manati, Puerto Rico, primarily on the strength of his boxing skills.

While Cruz’s gameplan was to turn the fight into a tough man competition, Rodela's corner, which included legendary trainer Freddy Roach, encouraged their fighter to box. Ultimately, Rodela's strategy proved to be more effective.

The fight opened with a nearly even first round, as both men tried to find a comfortable pace, with Cruz perhaps gaining a slight edge over his foe.

In the second round however, Rodela discovered that the 1-2 was his best weapon, and proceeded to box more from the outside.

Round Three proved to be another close round, as Rodela spent an awkward moment on the ropes and Cruz made him pay. This was a tough round to score.

Cruz continued to tighten the scorecards over the next two rounds, punishing Rodela with sweeping hooks whenever Rodela grew lazy in maintaining his jab and distance.

In Round Five, Cruz twisted Rodela’s head with a major uppercut. Rodela continued to fight however, perhaps accustomed to taking such shots from his occasional sparring sessions with Amir Khan and Manny Pacquiao.

Rounds Six and Seven also were close, although Rodela landed some quality four-punch combinations which seemed to have an effect on his opponent.

Rodela then built on his earlier success in Round Eight, winning the final frame with his clean punching.

With two scores of 77-75 for Rodela, and one score of 78-74 for Cruz, Rodela was announced the winner by split decision. Rodela improved to 15-3-3 (6 KO's), while Eric Cruz fell to 7-3-3 (7 KO's) with the loss.

TheDailySportsHerald scored the fight 77-75, for David Rodela.

Co-Main Event: Akeem Akinbode v. Frankie Gomez (Welterweights)

Despite the fact that Akeem Akinbode was swaying to the music a bit before the start of his fight with Frankie Gomez, Akinbode never really got into the swing of things nor found his rhythm during the bout.

Akinbode landed his first punch - a jab to the body - and then Frankie Gomez retaliated, throwing a flurry of left and right hooks that were just too fast for Akinbode. As a result, the referee was forced to stop the fight.

With his impressive handspeed, Gomez, a former World Amateur Championship silver medalist, may prove to be too fast for many other fighters in his division as he climbs the rankings. Gomez is scheduled to fight again next month at Club Nokia and improved to 3-0 (3 KO's) with the win.

Akinbode dropped to 1-3-1 (1 KO's) with the loss.

Other Fights: Jose Navarro v. Benji Garcia (Bantamweight)

Although the crowd for this fight was heavily pro-Navarro, Benji Garcia proved to be the gamest 14-14 (now 14-15) fighter on the planet. Garcia, despite being the shorter and slower man in the ring, demonstrated true determination and heart in his failed attempt to avoid a fourth consecutive loss.

Navarro was able to wobble Garcia, but never could finish him, as he failed to set up his combinations with jabs, much to the displeasure of his corner. Although Navarro was in control from the first bell, Garcia made him fight every minute of the bout.

Garcia tried but failed to steal rounds with late flurries that sometimes lasted until after the bell. As the fight progressed, the referee became more assertive in trying to end this tactic, even inadvertently throwing Garcia to the ground on one occasion.

Scores were unanimous in giving all 6 rounds to Navarro, 60-54. Navarro's record now stands at 27-5 (12 KO's).

Jesus Rodriquez v. Jesus Juarez (Lightweights)

In this fight, the crowd was cheering wildly for "Jesus," but since both boxers shared this first name, it was difficult to determine which of the heavily-tattooed fighters they were supporting.

Jesus Rodriguez was the busier fighter from Round One, but failed to stop a game Juarez despite an eye so badly swollen after Round Three that Juarez plainly could not see.

Juarez indeed showed a lot of heart in his pro debut. Unfortunately, he also revealed that he lacks the hand speed necessary to succeed using the peek-a-boo, Roy Jones-type of stance that he has adopted.

All three judges scored the bout in favor of Rodriguez, 40-36, 40-36, and 39-37. Rodriguez was happy with the win, which improved his record to 2-0.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the exciting atmosphere at Fight Night Club was about what one would expect from a die-hard Thursday night crowd of boxing fans going head-to-head with a Lakers-Suns playoff game. Not only was the venue and setting great at Club Nokia, but the fights that De La Hoya provided were competitive as well.

By Joe Hammond
Contributing Writer for TheDailySportsHerald.com

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