You can usually tell a fighter’s worth when he fights another undefeated fighter.
Saul “Neno” Rodriguez found out against formerly undefeated Antonio Capulin just how tough it is to hang a loss on someone that doesn’t know how to lose, when they met last Saturday in Hollywood, Calif.
Despite knocking down Capulin in the first round and nearly stopping him in the second round, Rodriguez (seen above in Al Applerose photo) quickly discovered the Houston, Texan’s mettle.
“It was tough because he was able to take a lot of punishment and had a lot of heart and a good chin. He did take a lot of punishment,” said Rodriguez, 22, of Riverside, Ca. “I was so close to stopping him. I was just teeing off on him but he kept up so I just slowed down and kept winning the rounds. I didn’t want to gas myself out like Alfredo Angulo against James Kirkland.”
With the whole world expecting a knockout, compliments of advanced advertisement by UniMas television, which did a 90-minute special on him the weekend before, Rodriguez could have expended the entire fuel supply trying to take out Capulin. He resisted and showed great maturity.
“I won all the rounds. I had never gone past the 6th round before. This was my first time going to eight. It was my first decision since 2012,” Rodriguez said on Tuesday, adding that his trainer Eduardo Garcia slowed him down. “Eduardo was telling me to use my jab more and not get impatient.”
It’s the same wise trainer who guided Fernando Vargas, Roberto Garcia and Mikey Garcia to world titles. He now only works with Rodriguez, alongside his sons Mikey and Robert.
The Riverside Poly High graduate expects a contender status soon and anxiously awaits another venture into the boxing ring.
“I feel like I’m entering as a contender now. I made a lot of noise in this fight. A lot of people in the boxing world are paying attention,” said Rodriguez. “It was a lot of exposure for the fight. I have a lot of people watching from Puerto Rico, Mexico and the US. It’s exciting to have a lot of people watching; especially the Latino community. They support fighters a lot.”
Golden Boy in L.A.
Puerto Rico’s Jayson Velez (22-0-1, 16 Kos) faces Mexico’s Daniel Ramirez (11-2, 5 Kos) in the main event on Thursday, June 4, at Belasco Theater. The venue also serves as a salsa and Bachata hot spot on the same night and on weekends.
Golden Boy Promotions has put forth perhaps the best venue for prizefighting since the days of the Olympic Auditorium, which is located about five blocks south. It truly is a vibrant spot for boxing. I’ve been around to see many of the now defunct venues and this one ranks up with the best the Los Angeles area has ever seen.
Where else would people line up around the building several hours before the show to anxiously buy tickets and watch boxing in L.A. It’s the entertainment capital of the world and there are a million things to do every night. Yet, fans come early and eager. The doors open at 5 p.m.
Oscar De La Hoya will be available to meet fans between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. inside the venue.
Other boxing chatter
WBC middleweight titlist Miguel Cotto (39-4, 32 Kos) of Puerto Rico fights challenger Daniel Geale (31-3, 16 Kos) of Australia on Saturday June 6, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Cotto looks to test himself against Geale before possibly facing Saul “Canelo” Alvarez or undefeated Gennady “GGG” Golovkin later this year.
WBC lightweight champion Jorge Linares (39-3, 26 Kos) survived a first round knockdown and eventually knocked out tough British challenger Kevin Mitchell (39-3, 29 Kos) at 2:57 of the 10th round. The world title fight took place Saturday May 30, at the O2 arena in London, England. Linares trains in Los Angeles and is originally from Venezuela. In the co-main event, IBF featherweight titlist Evgeny Gradovich (19-1-1) lost the title by technical decision to Lee Selby (21-1, 8 Kos). The fight ended in the eighth round due to a cut over Gradovich’s right eye and all three judges had Selby ahead on their score cards.
Fights on television
Thurs. Fox Sports 1, 7 p.m., Jayson Velez (20-0-1) vs. Daniel Ramirez (11-2).
Sat. NBC, noon, Robert Guerrero (32-3) vs. Aron Martinez (19-3-1).
Sat. HBO, 7 p.m., Miguel Cotto (39-4) vs. Daniel Geale (31-3).