LAS VEGAS (November 14, 2020) — Last time Joshua Greer Jr. stepped in the ring he was in The Bubble inside the MGM Grand Conference Center in June. For the training camp he reunited with long-time trainer George Hernandez. The reunion wasn’t successful. Greer was dropped early by Mike Plania, knocked down a second time, and the Chicagoan was forced to make a late rally to try to salvage the fight. In the end, his 19-fight win streak ended.
Greer watched a potential title fight versus unified champion Naoya Inoue slip away. The hard work spent establishing his Top 5 ranking by the IBF and WBO took a hit.
Greer returned to The Bubble needing to avoid trying to get everything back at once. He did need to defeat Edwin Rodriguez, a 5-loss 27-year old from Puerto Rico who was 3-1-1 in his last five outings. Hernandez was out. Chief second Kay Koroma and former Featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson accompanied Greer to the ring. Also missing: Greer’s signature “Night Night” pillow.
Greer started out with a different look. He closed the distance fighting defensively responsible – in almost an exaggerated fashion. He engaged and then retreated, listening to his corner’s request to box more and take fewer unnecessary punches. Rodriguez challenged him. Greer boxed at times, he banged in smaller spurts, and he engaged from all three distances to suit his advantages.
The fight was well-contested. Both men had clear moments as the better fighter. After excelling over the back-end of the fight Greer stood in his corner talking confidently about the effectiveness of new team. All three – Greer, Stevenson and Koroma – were stunned as Adelaide Byrd scored the fight in favor of Rodriguez 8-3. The other two judges submitted even cards 75-75. A blank stare took over Greer’s face after hearing the official decision of majority draw. The disappointing decision moved Greer’s record to 22-2-2 with 12 KOs. Rodriguez exited the ring with a record of 11-5-2 with five wins coming inside the distance.
Greer stepped to Rodriguez pumping his jab to open Round 1. His guard was high with both hands pressed against his upper cheeks. Rodriguez got off to a slower start, and her started responding once Greer started ripping shots to the body. Greer moved inside quickly to attack the body and mix in uppercuts. Rodriguez’ activity increased, and his own uppercuts sent Greer to his corner with a bloodied nose.
Both fighters slugged away at each other in the pocket to open Round 2. Greer’s gloves were still raised high. Rodriguez slipped a left hand inside of the guard. In the middle of the round both men took a step back. Both fighters took the lead landing first in exchanges.
In Round 3 the fighters operated from outside. Rodriguez moved forward focusing on the body at times. Greer boxed off his back foot from the outside, and threw punches in combination.
In the first minute of Round 4, Greer bobbed his way inside to land a solid left hook. Rodriguez ended the second minute with a combination to Greer’s body. Over the final minute the action moved back inside. Both fighters traded power punches.
Rodriguez worked steadily through the fifth round. Greer’s offense was limited, but he fought mindful of his spacing, and avoided heavy punishment. His nose continued to bleed.
Early in Round 6, both fighters were back toe-to-toe exchanging inside. Rodriguez punched around the guard to get to Greer’s body. Greer lifted up Rodriguez’ head with a punishing right uppercut. Greer’s body work was spotty, as he had been the recipient of multiple warnings about low blows. One errant shot caused a stoppage in the preceding round.
Greer was on the front foot through most of Round 7. He successfully pushed Rodriguez back, and the Puerto Rican’s energy appeared to drop. Momentum gradually shifted to Greer.
Greer opened Round 8 still pressing forward. Rodriguez’ offense built slowly, and her rallied to take control of the round. With less than a minute to go, Greer returned to pressing forward and attacked Rodriguez’ body with both hands.
The judges scored the fight 77-75 in favor of Rodriguez, and 76-76 on two cards which declared the bout a majority decision.
All photos by Mikey Williams/Top Rank