Bellew vs Haye 2: Paul Butler bloodied and beaten by Emmanuel Rodriguez
By James Dielhenn
Last Updated: 06/05/18 9:00am
Paul Butler climbed off the floor twice to hear the final bell but was beaten by Emmanuel Rodriguez on Saturday.
Butler failed to make weight on Friday, making him ineligible to win the vacant IBF bantamweight title, a belt he previously owned.
Unbeaten Rodriguez, whose prior 17 fights were all in North and Central America, took the IBF title back to Puerto Rico with a unanimous decision win.
Butler was twice floored inside the opening round - two classy left hooks, to body then head, hurt him.
Butler was wounded when he returned to his feet and, after falling again under intense pressure, he did well to survive the first three minutes.
The Ellesmere Port fighter was able to dust off the cobwebs from that early onslaught but struggled to make Rodriguez uncomfortable.
The Puerto Rican was able to box through the first half of the fight at his preferred pace, fending off Butler whenever he tried to close the distance.
Butler's nose was dripping blood and his face reddened by the sixth, when he could do little except for fiddle towards the closing bell.
His bravery was admirable and Butler remained active through the middle rounds, despite being visibly hurt.
To Butler's credit, Rodriguez seemed to recognise that he wouldn't force his rival to quit and eventually settled for a points victory.
The judges scored the fight 118-108, 120-106 and 120-106 to the new world champion.