Friday Night Fights Preview: Rodriguez and Hernandez Look To Wage War, Kinda Tries To Shine


This Friday; May 24th, another edition of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights comes to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT to showcase hometown fighter Delvin Rodriguez (27-6-3 15 KO’s) in a junior middleweight bout against former title challenger Freddy “El Riel” Hernandez (30-4 1 ND 20 KO’s). With the crowd behind him, Rodriguez will attempt to once again get himself a title shot as well as entertain viewers across the country on ESPN. The co-feature of the night will pit Issouf “Volcano” Kinda (16-0 6 KO’s); a 140lb prospect, against Chris “Hurricane” Howard (15-2-1 7 KO’s) who plans to put the fire out on the hot up and comer.

Coming off a dominating sixth round TKO win over undefeated George Tahdooahnippah on Friday Night Fights this past February, Dominican native Delvin Rodriguez is trying to keep his star bright and his name in contention for another title shot at 154lbs. Having come up short on various occasions in very close bouts and most recently in a title shot against former titleholder Austin Trout; in a bout he lost by unanimous decision, it seems as Rodriguez is ESPN’s “go to guy” and a real test for any super welterweight challenger. Being a gatekeeper or a measuring stick for prospects isn’t what the 33 year old boxer is looking for, so it should be noted that he will come out aggressively like he did in his last fight trying to prove a point, getting another chance to headline on TV means that he is only looking for success, against a fighter coming off two losses he should find it.

Mexico City’s  Freddy Hernandez has been at this stage before, However, he is 2-3 in his last five bouts and winning only one bout since his first round TKO loss to Andre Berto just over two years ago. In his last bout, “El Riel” was shutout by Demetrius Andrade and before that, he lost a decision to world class southpaw Erislandy Lara at junior middleweight, the higher weight has not done much good for the 34 year old and coming off two tough losses he needs a win to keep his career alive. Only losing one fight before his challenge to Berto, Hernandez had previously shown great power and very good height and reach for a welter weight. Yet in facing a fighter like Delvin Rodriguez who has only been stopped once, fighting the naturally bigger, solid man will be a tough challenge but you can expect a tough fight from a true Mexican warrior.

Volcanoes erupt, and that’s what fans at home should expect from West Africa’s Issouf Kinda who wants to trade the title of prospect for contender and make new fans. Kinda who trains out of the Bronx, NY; is coming off an NBC Televised 2nd round KO win over Javier Loya showing that not only does he have speed and movement on his side, but deceptively strong punches with just six knockouts on his record. On paper it seems as though Kinda is just another African fighter with so-so punching power, good defense, but no real standout qualities to separate himself from the pack In the packed 140lb division, Friday is his chance to show that he belongs to be mentioned as an opponent for the Danny Garcia’s in the division and make an example out of Chris Howard.

Hurricanes cause destruction and the plan for Chris Howard is to build up enough momentum in his next bout to put out the flame on Kinda’s career. The Cincinnati fighter has a solid record and has only come up short against undefeated fighters at lightweight, but coming off a TKO win in his last fight against Bayan Jargal, Howard returns to Connecticut to keep his streak alive and redeem himself after two tough losses. Howard is going to have to keep the pressure up and muffle the text book attack from Kinda if he plans on winning, his youth has to come in to play and be transferred in to energy to really spark a lead to get over what is a daunting task facing the always in shape African. The record shows that both men come to fight but Friday we will see who can box as well, and the winner will move forward in their boxing career.

If there is a prediction to be made it should be fireworks, the co-feature has two under 25 year old fighters showcasing youth and speed to make a competitive fight. The main event has a more mature tone as two fighters nearing the latter half of their career try to get one last show at a title, the desperation from the two brawlers will come out and with Rodriguez’s penchant for his nonstop action like in the Wolak fights; Freddy Hernandez will answer him in a battle where the strongest will survive and someone will touch the canvas.