Rodriguez-Moloney, Dorticos-Masternak: WBSS Stats & Stakes

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by Cliff Rold

For the third week in a row, the World Boxing Super Series will present quarterfinal action in the bantamweight division and, for the second in a row, in the cruiserweight division.

We have two distinctly different types of matches on hand. At bantamweight, we have two undefeated young men who are still light on resume with plenty to prove. At cruiserweight, we have veterans in their 30s who know the pain of defeat and how far back in line a loss here could push them in a division with one clear champion.

Can they exceed what we got a week ago (DAZN, 8 PM EST)?

Zolani Tete and Andrew Tabiti advanced in their brackets but neither did so in a way that got many excited. It’s one of the advantages of the tournament format for fighters who might not always be thrillers. ‘Win and advance’ eliminates the chance that a Tete could be punished for the way he wins. Tete has been clinical in recent victories over Omar Narvaez and now Mikhail Aloyan.

Given his length and boxing ability, without the tournament he might be an easy fighter to avoid. From a boxing as entertainment perspective, that might be okay. From a boxing as competitive sport perspective, it shouldn’t be. If the point is to find out who the best man is, the only answer will come in the ring.

This weekend looks more promising on paper. We will have competition regardless. The entertainment should also come a little more freely.     

Let’s get into it.

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Stats and Stakes

Emmanuel Rodriguez

Age: 26

Title: IBF bantamweight (2018-Present, 1stAttempted Defense)

Previous Titles: None

Height: 5’6

Weight: 118 lbs.

Stance: Orthodox

Hails from: Vega Baja, Puerto Rico

Record: 18-0, 12 KO

Press Rankings: #4 (Ring), #5 (Boxing Monthly), #6 (ESPN, BoxRec), #7 (TBRB)

WBSS Seed: 4

Record in Major Title Fights: 1-0

Last Five Opponents: 94-12-2 (.880)

Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: Paul Butler UD12

Vs.

Jason Moloney

Titles/Previous Titles: None

Age: 27

Height: 5’6 

Weight: 117 ¾ lbs.

Stance: Orthodox

Hails from: Kingscliff, New South Wales, Australia 

Record: 17-0, 14 KO

Press Rankings: #7 (Ring), #8 (BoxRec), #10 (Boxing Monthly)

WBSS Seed: Unseeded

Record in Major Title Fights: 1stmajor title opportunity 

Last Five Opponents: 116-22-9 (.820)

Current/Former World Champions Faced: Kohei Kono RTD6

The Pick: The bantamweights are hard to handicap. Both have largely faced standard prospect fare until recently but impressed in steps up. Rodriguez was masterful against Butler in winning the vacant IBF belt earlier this year while Moloney forced Kono to retire in the corner. Both had solid amateur careers, have good jabs, work in combination, and apply sound footwork. Moloney may have the heavier hands while Rodriguez shows more seamless movement between offense and defense and counters well. Those attributes for Rodriguez make the difference in the pick here. Moloney could be dangerous but Rodriguez appears the better skilled boxer and should move on to face Naoya Inoue after what will likely be a decision win.  

Yunier Dorticos

Age: 32

Title: None

Previous Titles: WBA cruiserweight (2016-18, 1 Defense)

Height: 6’3

Weight: 199 ¾ lbs.

Stance: Orthodox

Hails from: Miami, Florida (Born in Cuba)

Record: 22-1, 21 KO, 1 KOBY

Press Rankings: #4 (TBRB, Ring, Boxing Monthly), #6 (ESPN, BoxRec)

WBSS Seed: 2

Record in Major Title Fights: 1-1, 1 KO, 1 KOBY (2-1, 2 KO, 1 KOBY including interim title fights)

Last Five Opponents: 138-44-2 (.755)

Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: Murat Gassiev TKO by 12

Vs.

Mateusz Masternak

Titles/Previous Titles: None

Age: 31

Height: 6’0 

Weight: 198 ¾ lbs.

Stance: Orthodox

Hails from: Wroclaw, Poland 

Record: 41-4, 28 KO, 1 KOBY

Press Rankings: #8 (TBRB)

WBSS Seed: Unseeded

Record in Major Title Fights: 0-1 in interim title fights 

Last Five Opponents: 97-13-1 (.878)

Current/Former World Champions Faced: Grigory Drozd TKO by 11

The Pick: Masternak enters having won five in a row, including a revenge stoppage of Youri Kalenga. Dorticos makes his first start since losing a fight of the year candidate in the WBSS semifinals to Gassiev earlier this year. Will there be a hangover from the war? Even if there are, based on form to date, Dorticos looks to have most of the advantages here. He’s taller, longer, quicker, and more fluid. Dorticos is the pick to advance to his second tournament semi.

Additional Weekend Picks

Ryoto Murata Dec. Rob Brant

Demtrius Andrade TKO Walter Kautondokwa

Tevin Farmer Dec. James Tennyson

Rold Picks 2018: 41-15 (Including Crawford-Benavidez, Tete-Aloyan, Tabiti-Fayfer, Acosta-Rodriguez)

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]




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