West Coast Fight Chatter

Top Rank’s fast-rising Saul “Neno” Rodriguez was preparing at full-speed last weekend when told that Nicaragua’s Daniel Diaz had visa problems.

The junior lightweight with eight consecutive knockouts was told the fight was canceled and may be on hold for a short stint.

Top Rank matchmaker Brad Goodman says that Rodriguez, who lives and trains in Riverside, has been put on the fast track and could be facing contenders by the end of the year.

“He’s still probably a year away from contender status. Each and every fight he’s stepping up in opposition. I’d like to see him sharpen up on his defensive side. He’s one of these guys you rarely find… a one punch guy,” said Goodman. “You rarely, rarely see that in boxing now, especially someone that young.”

Rodriguez, 21, whose knockouts have been part of Solo Boxeo’s highlight films for 2014, was set to fight Diaz on the co-main event this past Saturday in Hidalgo, Texas. Lee Samuels of Top Rank said it was an unfortunate let-down but they have plans for Rodriguez, who is mostly trained by Eduardo Garcia, the father of trainer Robert Garcia. The son usually takes over the last two weeks of training.

Top Rank may put the undefeated Rodriguez on a March 14 fight card that takes place in Glendale, Calif.

California crunch

When Josesito Lopez fights Andre Berto at the Citizens Business Bank in Ontario on March 13, it creates a crunch for fight cards that weekend.

Down the road Thompson Boxing Promotions will be putting on a fight card in Tustin, Calif. at the Marconi Museum.

One of the bouts planned is Oxnard’s Crystal Morales, who is tentatively set to meet in a junior lightweight match.

Lopez and Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola are training in Big Bear to prepare for their respective fights, said trainer Henry Ramirez.

Golden Boy returns to downtown L.A.

Oscar De La Hoya announced that the popular fight cards he staged at Club Nokia in downtown L.A. are coming back. This time the venue is Belasco Theater, located at 1050 S. Hill St., a few blocks east of the L.A. Live. Golden Boy Promotions will be staging monthly shows at the downtown venue.

Former U.S. Olympian JoJo Diaz is set to fight on the main event. He trains at South El Monte and is a South El Monte resident.

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