Saul Rodriguez returns after a big win over chicken pox
Many 18-year-olds decide to enroll in college, enter the work force or enlist in the military after graduating high school.
Not Saul Rodriguez.
He did enroll in a classroom of sorts but there were no desks or textbooks. Instead, he has received lesson upon lesson of wisdom from two of the better trainers in the sport.
Rodriguez is trained by Eduardo and Robert Garcia, both of whom could be bluntly honest, yet provide an instilled discipline for a young fighter.
So far, the combination has worked as Rodriguez is undefeated and could be the verge of becoming a breakout star in the sport, in which he could eventually fight for a world title soon.
Rodriguez has to take care of matters first on Saturday night, when he fights Ramsey Luna at the Churchill County Fairgrounds in Fallon, Nev. The eight-round lightweight bout will top a “Solo Boxeo Tecate” telecast, which begins airing at 11 p.m. ET/ PT.
Rodriguez (17-0-1, 13 knockouts) is one of Top Rank Promotions’ more talented, unbeaten prospects. The Riverside, Calif. resident has passed every test against modest opposition.
In his last bout on May 30, Rodriguez dropped Antonio Capulin in the first round in route to a one-sided eight round decision in Hollywood, Calif. Rodriguez was scheduled to fight on March 14 but had to withdraw from the fight after coming down with a case of the chicken pox.
Rodriguez may feel the invincibility from the victories he has accumulated in his career thus far. But the 22-year-old knows this is a marathon, not a race. This is why he is open to any advice, criticism and piece of knowledge to make him a better fighter.
He seems to get a double dose of that from the Garcias.
“It’s been great having someone like them,” Rodriguez told RingTV during a telephone interview. “They tell me the truth and not what I want to hear. They know their material. We do what we need to work on and on what to improve. I know I’ve slowly gotten better but I know can keep getting better as well.”
“It’s good to have power but I don’t want to be a one-dimensional fighter. I’ve learned more about boxing and not getting hit and to stay in control of a fight.”
But then the question bears to be asked: When is the right time to fight a very good fighter and no longer veteran fighters whose punch resistance declines with each fight?
Ramsey Luna may prove to be that fighter. He fought to a majority draw against Curtis Meeks on May 9, a fight some at ringside thought Luna won.
“He’s coming to fight and he’ll be at his best,” said Rodriguez.
Robert Garcia knows a thing or two about developing a fighter to become a world champion. While he sees a lot of upside with Rodriguez, slow and steady may be currently the best formula for Rodriguez.
“We don’t want to rush him,” Garcia told RingTV over the phone on Wednesday. “He’s a good fighter and there is that possibility within two to three fights but we do want to take our time with him. Saul understands the commitment and what he has to do to put in the time and effort to get to that next level.”
For now, it is about getting better, which should always be the objective with young fighters. Rodriguez is in good hands with the Garcias and Top Rank is considered the best at developing its fighters to become world champions.
While those are plusses for Rodriguez, he understands the importance of getting better with each fight and during each training session.
He wants to be at the head of the class, where he passes every test with flying colors.
“I just want to compete at a high level. I’m training hard and learning more with each session. I want to show that I’m getting better and that I want to become a more well-rounded fighter.
“I want to show that I’m a talented fighter.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since Oct. of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.