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List of Articles by Dionis Jacobe


By Dionis Jacobe
23 Mar 2014

Dethroned WBO minimumweight champion Merlito “Tiger” Sabillo (23W-1-1 12 KOs) failed in his third defense of the 105-pound crown when he was stopped in the 10th round by the Mexican challenger Francisco Rodriguez (14W-2L, 10 KOs) in their fight at Arena Monterrey, Mexico Saturday night (Sunday in Manila).

At the opening of the first round, the challenger hurriedly unleashed a flurry of punches on the champion sending Sabillo to the corner. Sabillo was obviously overwhelmed by the volume of punches thrown by the challenger who also connected hard lefts and rights to the body, which in the later rounds had telling effects on the champion.

In the second round, Sabillo and the Rodriguez had a heated exchange of punches, but Rodriguez had an upper hand in landing body and head shots on Sabillo prompting the champion to retreat. While going backwards, Sabillo was caught in the head by a long punch from the Rodriguez sending Sabillo to the canvas. After the mandatory count, the challenger smells blood and went right away to finish Sabillo who stood his ground and was able to finish the round.

In the third to the fifth rounds, Rodriguez imposed his will by unleashing a flurry of punches sending Sabillo to the corner in the defensive mode. While Sabillo was able to duck some of the punches, the sheer volume of punches that landed to the head and body of Sabillo readily drained his stamina.

In the sixth round, the Sabillo tried to unleash his own version of punches on the face of Rodriguez in the opening minutes, but he could not find his range and failed to land the same. Rodriguez answered Sabillo's punches prompting him to retreat to the ropes. Towards the end of the round, Sabillo connected with a shot to the body of Rodriguez but was answered by Rodriguez with a flurry of punches until the end of the round.

In the seventh to the eighth rounds, Sabillo was in defensive mode again. The effect of the body shots and the volume of punches landed by Rodriguez in the early rounds was made manifest in these rounds as Sabillo retreated most the time and only made a sporadic answer to the flurry of punches thrown by Rodriguez.

In the opening of the ninth round, the two protagonists engaged in a close quarter combat as they fought technically in the inside, when Rodriguez connected with a clean right hook to the head of Sabillo prompting him to retreat to his best refuge in the ropes.

In the tenth round, Rodriguez smells the end of Sabillo by imposing his will on him. Rodriguez was relentless in attacks and unleashed a deadly combination that reduced Sabillo to a receiving end of the bargain prompting the referee to stop the fight to prevent further damage on the former champion.

Rodriguez (14-2-0, 10KO) thus obtained the best win of his career in front of his hometown fans with a world title belt to boot. Sabillo (23-1-1, 12KO) makes the long trip back home to the Philippines without his belt while suffering the first loss of his career.

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