Friday, March 24, 2023  |


Elvis Rodriguez refuses to be defined by lone career defeat

Elvis Rodriguez. Photo by Mikey Williams/ Top Rank

Elvis Rodriguez is not about to let one loss be the story of his pro career.

Rodriguez hopes an impressive victory over Joseph Adorno on Saturday night puts him closer to contender status. The 10 round bout will take place at The Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota and will open the three-bout Showtime Championship Boxing telecast (9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT). 

In the main event, junior welterweight contenders Subriel Matias of Puerto Rico and Jeremias Ponce will square off in a 12-round bout for the vacant IBF world title. 

Rodriguez (13-1-1, 12 knockouts), who is originally from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic and now lives and trains in the Los Angeles area, has not fought since March 26. In that last fight, which also took place at The Armory, Rodriguez broke down Argentina’s Juan Jose Velasco before knocking him out late in the seventh round.

The southpaw Rodriguez will face another once-beaten fighter in Adorno in a compelling fight between boxer-punchers. Both had previously fought under the Top Rank banner, but have done well in recent fights for Premier Boxing Champions (PBC). 

Rodriguez is favored according to oddsmakers, but is not overlooking Adorno.

“We respect all opponents we face,” Rodriguez told The Ring Wednesday afternoon. “We know what to do and that is to be smart in the ring. We had a solid camp and our objective is to win round-by-round. If the knockout comes, it comes.

“Saturday, (my fight against Adorno) will be one of the best fights of the night.”

The 27-year-old has won his last two fights, both by knockout, since losing to Kenneth Sims, Jr. in May 2021. Rodriguez and Top Rank split after the loss, but he returned to the ring less than six months later to knock out Juan Pablo Romero.

Rodriguez is trained by Freddie Roach and has benefited more from the amount of sparring in recent months, which has allowed him to improve his skill-set. 

“I took the initiative to learn from the loss,” said Rodriguez, who is managed by Benjamin ‘Benny’ Lieblein. “We corrected our mistakes and you can see the difference between the fighter I was then and who I am now. 

“Freddie Roach has helped me out a lot. He has done an excellent job improving my ability as a fighter. Everyone in boxing knows the quality of work one gets at the Wild Card Gym (in Hollywood, California). I have received quality sparring against top fighters and prospects.”

Rodriguez is one of several fighters from the Dominican Republic who have made their mark in the sport over the last 10 years or so. Fighters like Hector Luis Garcia, Alberto Puello, Carlos Adames, and Erick Rosa have also done well, becoming a world titleholder or a legit contender in their respective division.

Rodriguez also hopes to continue elevating the sport and one day becoming the king of a very competitive and talent-rich junior welterweight division. 

“There is a lot of talent in the Dominican Republic,” said Rodriguez. “A lot of these fighters have their roots on the island, and then there are those who come to the United States to elevate their talent and get better. Trainers make Dominican fighters better. They provide better situations (for fighters). We have seen a great number of fighters from the Dominican Republic who have made their mark in boxing over the last couple of years.”

An impressive win over Adorno could put Rodriguez in line with becoming a contender at 140 pounds. There is still work to be done in reaching his ceiling, but Rodrigue is confident he can emerge as one of the best fighters in the division.

Rodriguez is confident he may be on his way to fighting for a world title belt and is ready to accept that challenge.

“I believe I’m ready, especially with what I did in my last fight. Maybe I’m one or two more fights away from facing the best in the division. I’m ready for those types of fights.

“I’ve gained a great amount of experience and I’m more mature now. I’m ready for what’s next.”

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]