Two-loss Super Lightweight Kenneth Sims Jr. made a splash in his Top Rank on ESPN debut, upsetting undefeated knockout specialist Elvis Rodriguez behind eight rounds of mistake-free boxing
LAS VEGAS (May 22, 2021) — Former amateur standout Kenneth “Bossman” Sims Jr. easily defeated rising undefeated prospect Elvis Rodriguez, using his fundamentals and nearly flawless execution. The bout opened Top Rank’s broadcast of its highly-anticipated Super Lightweight undisputed championship bout between unified champions Jose Ramirez and Josh Taylor.
Sims (16-2-1, 5 KOs) came into the bout as the matchup’s boxer. He took the shots of the hard-hitting Rodriguez (11-1-1, 10 KOs) well, and consistently limited the Dominican to single shots.
Frustration set in on Rodriguez over the second half of the 8-rounder, after he failed to create many big moments over the first four frames. Sims remained poised, alert and carried out the game plan devised by first-time chief second Kay Koroma. He never gave any ground to the Dominican southpaw, controlled the center of the ring the entire way and kept Rodriguez honest with his counter punching. Rodriguez tried to fight more aggressively over the final two rounds. Sims never faltered and capped off his Top Rank on ESPN debut by boxing his way to a stunning majority decision.
The Dominican Republic’s undefeated southpaw Elvis Rodriguez made his return from his February outing to face former amateur standout Kenneth Sims Jr. Rodriguez earned his first victory by decision after going the distance with Luis Alberto Veron on Top Rank’s WBC Junior Lightweight championship fight Miguel Berchelt vs Oscar Valdez to close out The Bubble phase of his young career.
Prior to tonight’s bout Rodriguez shared that he had some issues with his last camp. Sims, now formally guided by coach Kay Koroma, slowed down the Dominican’s start with a combination of his confidence, distance and jab. The Chicago native controlled the center of the ring and troubled Rodriguez with his ring generalship.
The action picked up somewhat in Round 3, as the two engaged in several short exchanges.
In the fourth round Rodriguez started to dart in and out more often to attempt to land a big left hand. Sims handled the landed shots well.
Sims continued to inch forward to score with Rodriguez in Round 5. Rodriguez landed a sharp right jab early. Sims worked steadily with his jab, and popped back the head of Rodriguez with a right hand to close out the frame.
Sims maintained the advantage in boxing into the sixth round. Rodriguez struggled to set up his back hand for a significant blow. He landed a right hook to the top of Sims head that had little effect.
Rodriguez opened the penultimate round looking to get close and sit down on his right hooks to the head of Sims. He landed a number of shots. Sims blocked some of them and pressed his way back inside. Rodriguez landed an uppercut. He had some damage under his right eye. Sims landed a solid right hook to the head moments before the bell.
Sims popped Rodriguez with a straight right hand to open the final round. Rodriguez tried to look for openings for his power punches. But, Sims regularly had answers and responded to the Dominican’s aggression with well-timed counter punches.
The Chicago native looked pleased with his performance in the seconds immediately after the final bell. However, a victory wasn’t a foregone conclusion depending on how the judge’s viewed Sims’ boxing in contrast to Rodriguez’ bigger shots. The official decision delivered the upset with scores of 76-76 and 78-74 on two cards for a majority decision in favor of Sims.
All photos by Mikey Williams/Top Rank