Emmanuel Rodriguez insists experience will be key against Gary Antonio Russell
Former IBF bantamweight titleholder Emmanuel Rodriguez will face up-and-coming Gary Antonio Russell over 12 rounds at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California on Saturday.
Rodriguez, who is rated No. 3 by The Ring at 118 pounds, will be fighting for the first time since his controversial loss to Reymart Gaballo last December.
“At the end of the day, it is me who is fighting on Showtime and [Gaballo] is not,” Rodriguez (19-2, 12 knockouts) told The Ring through Fernando Gaztambide. “I remain focused on fighting with the greats. My promoter, Juan Orengo, is seeking the best opportunities for me and my family.”
The 29-year-old Puerto Rican is respectful of his unbeaten opponent but believes that he knows too much and will emerge victorious.
“[Russell] does many things well, he knows how to adjust to his opponents ” said Rodriguez, who has spent eight weeks training with Jay Najar at the Municipal Gymnasium of Jiquipilco, State of Mexico. “I have experience in my favor and other tools that I will use on fight night.
“I know what it’s like to be a world champion and defend the title. I know what it is to lose fairly and I know what it is to lose unfairly, but that is in the past and now I have this great opportunity that I will make the most of.”
Rodriguez, who has lost his last two fights, is intent on proving that he can still compete with the best bantamweights in the world.
“Winning means [I will be considered among] the best at 118 pounds,” he said. “Russell is a prized fighter. Other boxers avoid him. Boxing fans will see good things from me on August 14.”
Russell (18-0, 12 KOs) turned professional in 2015. His most notable win came when he defeated former WBA bantamweight beltholder Juan Carlos Payano (TD 7) last December. The 28-year-old southpaw is the younger brother of long-reigning WBC titlist Gary Russell Jr.
The Showtime event will be headlined by the John Riel Casimero-Guillermo Rigondeaux bantamweight bout and will also feature Rau’shee Warren against Damien Vazquez. The broadcast will begin at 10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT.
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