After settling for a draw in his first fight in PH, Mexican Rodriguez eyes big win vs Nietes
TO PROVE A POINT
WBO minimum weight world champion Francisco “Chihuas” Rodriguez Jr. is confident he can finally pull off a victory in his second fight in the Philippines.
The 21-year-old Rodriguez, who sports a 17-2-1 (win-loss-draw) record with 11 knockouts takes on two-division world champion and the reigning WBO light flyweight king Donnie “Ahas” Nietes (35-1-4, 21KOs) in the main event of Pinoy Pride 31: Clash of World Champions at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino this Saturday.
In November of last year, Rodriguez Jr. first set foot in the country to fight unheralded boxer Jomar Fajardo in the undercard of Nietes’ title defense against Carlos Velarde in Cebu. The bout ended in a draw, forcing some to question Rodriguez’s toughness inside the ring.
Rodriguez, though, said he learned a lot from his first fight here.
He silenced his critics when he lopsidedly won over Fajardo in their rematch last January in Mexico.
“I am very confident to win [against Nietes],” Rodriguez said.
“I was here last November to fight him. But instead, they gave me Fajardo. I’ve waited a year for this fight and now this is it. Let’s see how will Nietes protect himself when I attack him.”
Rodriguez and his camp headed by his manager Jose Antonio Hernandez held a press conference yesterday at the Rajah Park Hotel along with fellow Mexican Rafael “El Guerrerito” Reyes and his manager Edmundo Gaytan.
They were joined by Indonesian Ardi “Predator” Tefa, who will be featured in the undercard.
Rodriguez said that after the draw against Fajardo, he worked harder to improve his skills.
“We arrived here in the Philippines a few days before that fight last November and I was not able to adjust and recover from the long flight. That’s why I had difficulties during the fight. Now, I am totally prepared.
I am more prepared than all fights combined because we arrived here very early to finish our training.”
Rodriguez is so confident for this Saturday’s fight that he vowed to knock Nietes out.
“He can say all he wants against me. Let’s see on Saturday night. He wants to knock me out, I am here to knock him out also,” he said.
YOUTH WILL PREVAIL
Meanwhile, Hernandez said one of the advantages of his ward against the 33-year-old Nietes is his age.
“I’ve seen Nietes fight live. Yes, he’s a good fighter. But we prepared for this fight very well and we are sure that we will win. Chihuas is very young and already experienced compared to Nietes, who is already aging. I think his age will be his weakness and will be our main advantage,” Hernandez said.
He also shrugged off rumors about his ward’s injury that caused the rescheduling of the fight.
The fight was initially scheduled on July 4 but was moved to July 11 after Rodriguez Jr. allegedly suffered an ankle injury during training.
But according to Nietes’ camp, the Mexican champion made that an excuse as he struggled to get into the right weight.
In the co-main event, the 24-year old Reyes (16-4, 12KOs) fights undefeated Boholano Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo (10-0, 8KOs).
Even if he has yet to fight Magsayo, Reyes has already set his sights on IBF inter-continental junior featherweight champion “Prince” Albert Pagara.
Tefa (6-4, 4KOs) takes on amateur stand-out and professional debutee Kevin Jake Cataraja in the undercard.
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