JERWIN Ancajas definitely had his hands full against mandatory challenger Jonathan Rodriguez.
The reigning International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight champion was forced to the limit by the 25-year-old Mexican in their 12-round title fight on Saturday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut (Sunday, Manila time).
Ancajas kept Rodriguez at bay by using his jabs against the tough Mexican and piled the points by landing a lot of body shots in hacking out a unanimous decision to retain his 115-lbs crown.
CompuBox stats show the 29-year-old Filipino connected on 56 of 131 jabs thrown for an 18 percent accuracy, compared to Rodriguez who only landed 20 of 242 thrown for a low eight percent.
The champion also outworked the challenger with more body shots, 131-44.
But like a lot of Mexican fighters, Rodriguez didn’t back off even after going down in the final 20 seconds of round eight following a barrage of combinations from Ancajas.
He actually had more power punches than Ancajas with 253 of 584 (43 percent). The champion could only make 176 of 447 for 39 percent.
Despite losing his first world title fight by scores of 115-112, 116-111, 117-110, the Mexican was the busier fighter of the two, throwing 273 of 826 punches (33 percent) to Ancajas’ 232 of 758 (31 percent).
No wonder despite being the more veteran fighter than Rodriguez, Ancajas considered him the toughest opponent he faced in the ring so far.
“This is the toughest fight for me,” said the native of Panabo, Davao Del Norte, who also bore the brunt of Rodriguez’s power as his left eye was almost shut close after the bout.
Ancajas, whose record now stands at 33-1-2 with 22 KOs, is hoping to get a unification match in his next fight possibly by September.