Freudis Rojas wins the battle, Cristian Baez wins the fans

After 10 rounds, there was not much to separate Freudis Rojas and Cristian Baez on anything but the scorecards.

The wide decision in Rojas’s favour was meant by boos and chants of “Buillshit” in the Whitesands Events Center, Plant City because while it was not a Fight of the Year contender it was undoubtedly close and the cards of 99-91 (twice) and 98-92 did not tell the story and they did not give Baez the respect he was due.

It was close. There were plenty of clinches but no shortage of effort from either and there was an embrace of mutual respect in the end.

The rounds were somewhat similar throughout. Rojas was caught standing too upright early on but seemed to relax as the fight between southpaws wore on. 

Baez, fighting up at welter having made his name at lightweight, was the more composed of the two in the early going and Rojas did not look comfortable when pressured. Rojas probably looked at his best in the fourth, when he used his height, his reach, and his jab to take the session. Baez found it harder to get inside, too.

Baez, who had lost three of his last four, all in good company, to Luis Lopez, Ruben Torres, and Petro Ananyan, had been stopped in each of the losses, but he was not troubled here by Rojas, who is now 13-0 (11 KOs). 

A Baez left caused Rojas to hold in the fifth, but the pace slowed, and neither landed anything of note, with both swinging and missing plenty, winding up in clinches. 

There was a similar pattern the rest of the way. Rojas had some uncomfortable moments in the seventh, but he caught Baez losing concentration in the eighth, even though it did not look like Rojas could put a dent in his man. 

Both were tiring and it seemed the fight could be in the balance until the scorecards were read out.

It was a good learning fight for Rojas, but perhaps one that exposed his limitations.