By Alex Pelletier (La Zone de Boxe)
Young welterweight prospect Herman Ngoudjo (11-0, 8 KOs) faced the toughest challenge of his career on Saturday, and he escaped his fight against Mexico’s Juan Carlos Rodriguez (49-20-2, 34 KOs) with his record and regional title intact with a too-close-for-comfort unanimous decision.
Despite the number of losses on his record, Rodriguez came in with a thirteen-fight unbeaten streak and had a spot in the WBC’s top 15 at 140 lbs. He proved to be a very hot fighter from the opening bell, as he rushed Ngoudjo in the opening seconds of the fight, and he did not relent that heavy pressure until well into the second half of the fight. Those early rounds were dominated by the Mexican fighter. Ngoudjo showed good head movement and a tight guard, and was able to block most of Rodriguez’ shots and land a few good counters, however he couldn’t do anything to keep the Mexican veteran away.
The second half of the fight was mostly fought with Ngoudjo against the ropes, but with Rodriguez applying less pressure. Both men were looking to counter-punch, and often wound up both throwing flurries at the same moment, with mixed results. Ngoudjo started gaining some confidence as the fight went on, he was finally able to place his jab and dance away from a fading Rodriguez in the second half of the bout.
Ngoudjo was at his best in the last three rounds, when he was finally able to find openings on Rodriguez, and ultimately that last rally clinched the win for the Montreal-based Cameroonian. The scorecards read 116-112 and 115-113 (twice) for Ngoudjo, who retained his NABF light welterweight title in a very close call. Boxingtalk also scored the fight 115-113 for Ngoudjo.
On the undercard, middleweight Walid Smichet (11-1-2, 9 KOs) easily bombed out Keith Sims (24-12-1, 14 KOs) in two rounds, while heavyweights Patrice L’Heureux (16-1-1, 9 KOs) and Art Binkowski (14-0-2, 9 KOs) both fought preludes to their June 18th showdown for the Canadian heavyweight title, winning a second round TKO and an eight-round unanimous decision respectively.