Junior bantamweight Francisco Rodriguez could be closing in on a major title opportunity later this year. That goal could become reality due to his recent success in the ring.
Rodriguez will continue his ascent in the division as he faces Oswaldo Novoa in a stay-busy bout Saturday night, at the Grand Oasis Arena in Cancun, Mexico.
The 10-round bout will air live throughout Mexico on Televisa.
At Friday’s weigh-in, both fighters weighed in at 114 pounds.
The 25-year-old Rodriguez has experienced a rebirth of sorts at a new weight class after becoming a two-time titleholder at 105 pounds in 2014. Rodriguez moved up to the junior flyweight division one year later, losing back-to-back fights against Donnie Nietes and Moises Fuentes.
In his most recent bout on October 20, in nearby Cozumel, Rodriguez (29-4-1, 21 knockouts), who resides in Monterrey, Mexico, knocked out former flyweight titleholder Hernan “Tyson” Marquez. Rodriguez has won his last 10 bouts since the loss to Fuentes, eight by knockout.
Promoter Oswaldo Kuchle believes Rodriguez might be one of the best fighters at 115 pounds.
“Francisco is young, fast and his very hard,” said Kuchle, who runs Promociones del Pueblo. “He has matured a lot and I believe he is ready for anyone at 115 pounds.”
Rodriguez’s other notable bout occurred in September of 2013, when he was knocked out by then-flyweight contender Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez. Rodriguez was only 20 years old at the time of the fight.
After Saturday night, assuming Rodriguez wins, there will be a push for him to fight any of the top fighters in the division. Rodriguez is currently ranked No. 13 by the WBC.
“We’re going to be patient and wait for the winner of the Srisaket Sor Rungvisai-Juan Francisco Estrada (WBC title) fight,” said Kuchle. “I strongly believe the new blood at 115 pounds is Francisco ‘Chihuas’ Rodriguez.”
Novoa (14-8-4, 9 KOs), who resides in Guadalajara, Mexico, fought to a split draw against Erik Omar Lopez on December 1. The 37-year-old Novoa is winless in his last seven bouts.
In the co-feature, Omar Chavez (37-5-1, 24 KOs), the son of Mexican legend Julio Cesar Chavez, will square off against Andres Villaman (15-1-1, 10 KOs) in a 10-round middleweight bout.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV.com since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper, BoxingScene.com and FightNights.com. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @FSalazarBoxing.
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