A decade has passed since Mayweather Promotions was created. Now it finally invades one of the busiest boxing breeding grounds in the country when Saul “Neno” Rodriguez leads the charge on Friday.
Riverside’s Rodriguez (20-0-1, 15 KOs) meets Chile’s Oscar Bravo (22-6, 10 KOs) in the co-main event on Friday Feb. 24, at Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, CA. Showtime will televise the super featherweight brawl and two other fights.
It’s Mayweather Promotions first real encroachment into Southern California and especially the area called the “Inland Empire,” considered by some the current heart and soul of professional boxing. Many of the top boxing gyms are based in its region including Big Bear, Indio, Riverside and San Bernardino.
Other promotion companies like Top Rank, Golden Boy Promotions and Thompson Boxing Promotions have long benefitted from its fertile boxing grounds with fighters too numerous to name on its rosters.
With the signing of Rodriguez, who graduated from nearby Riverside Poly and still lives in Riverside, it marked the first real foray by Las Vegas-based Mayweather Promotions as a serious dealer in the Inland Empire or “I.E.” as it is known to locals.
Box Office attractions
Floyd “Money” Mayweather personally courted and signed Rodriguez late last year and established that when it comes to prizefighters, he wanted ticket attractions, not just winners.
“He’s a good-looking fighter, has charm and he can fight,” said Mayweather by telephone in December. “He’s a hard-hitter and fans like to see that.”
One of the mistakes often made by promoters is signing unappealing boxers who do not attract fans to their fights. Some are great boxers with incredible skills but their styles leave most fans bored and uninterested.
Defensive styles can win fights, but lose fans.
The hard-hitting Rodriguez has long been attracting fans to his fights, even as a youngster during his amateur days. People would gather at his fights just to see him knock someone silly.
Rodriguez has been a knockout machine as an amateur and now as a pro with 21 bouts so far in his career. He doesn’t plan to change.
“In the amateurs the big gloves would save my opponents a lot. But the smaller gloves are more convenient for me. I have more of an advantage,” said Rodriguez. “I can find more holes through the guard with the smaller gloves.”
Facing Rodriguez will be Bravo a veteran of substance who withstood the powerful assaults of Puerto Rico’s Felix Verdejo and Australia’s Will Tomlinson to hear the final bells. He can take a punch.
“Bravo, he’s tough. He hasn’t been knocked out and he comes to fight,” said Rodriguez whose last two wins came via knockout. “I can’t take him lightly. He’s been against some tough people and he keeps coming.”
Saul Rodriguez Sr. father and trainer of Saul “Neno” Rodriguez, said he’s seen a slight but obvious change in his son since his amateur days.
“He’s more focused now,” said Rodriguez Sr. “He loves his career and wants more.”
The Rodriguez’s aren’t the only ones that want more. Mayweather Promotions looks to change the prizefighting landscape too.
Recently, the Las Vegas promotion company signed female prizefighters Layla McCarter and Latondria Jones. McCarter is considered the best female fighter in the world pound for pound by many.
Mayweather Promotions is covering all the bases. On Friday, in Temecula, Rodriguez gets to display why he was coveted by the Las Vegas company.
“He’s an exciting fighter,” said Mayweather. “Fans want to see him fight.”
Doors open at 4:30 p.m. For more information call (877) 711-2946.
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