Eduardo ‘Rocky’ Hernandez eager to leave bad streak behind against Foster
A sudden knockout loss, issues with promoters, and contemplating early retirement was what Eduardo ‘Rocky’ Hernandez dealt with over the last couple of years.
After finding clarity and a renewed purpose, Hernandez was able to resume his career.
Now Hernandez is in position to possibly win a world title belt, fulfilling a dream he had since he was a boy.
Hernandez will challenge WBC world junior lightweight titleholder O’Shaquie Foster on Saturday night at the Poliforum Benito Juarez in Cancun, Mexico. The 12-round bout will headline a Matchroom Boxing card that will stream live on DAZN (8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT).
The 25-year-old Hernandez (34-1, 31 knockouts), who resides in Mexico City, last fought on July 7, knocking out Hector Garcia early in the third round. In his previous fight on September 3 of last year, Hernandez stopped Jorge Mata in the fifth round.
The World Boxing Council (WBC) ordered Hernandez to be Foster’s mandatory challenger for their version of the world junior lightweight title. Foster (20-2, 11 KOs) won the vacant WBC world title belt on February 11, defeating Rey Vargas by unanimous decision.
Both fighters have been very animated with each other throughout fight week. During Wednesday’s photo shoot at a local beach, both had to be separated as they jawed at one another. Both also had to be separated at Thursday’s press conference.
Hernandez is grateful for the opportunity to fight for the world title belt, and hopes to make the most of the opportunity Saturday night.
“It’s a difficult fight,” Hernandez told The Ring Tuesday night. “As soon as we were told that Foster was the next opponent for us, we prepared to be at our best.”
Hernandez has fought under different promotional companies since turning pro at the age of 16. He signed with Promociones del Pueblo, before entering into a co-promotional deal with Golden Boy Promotions. Hernandez entered into a promotional deal with Probellum, which later transferred his contract to Disrupt Promotions.
Manager Hector Fernandez earlier this year took to social media to call out this move by Probellum, stating moving Hernandez’s contract to Disrupt Promotions was done without their knowledge. Ultimately, Hernandez successfully secured his release from his contract, having not once fought on a fight card promoted by either promotional company.
Earlier this year, prior to the Garcia fight, Hernandez signed a promotional deal with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing.
Hernandez is in a better position now, but felt overwhelmed and frustrated to the point he had thoughts of moving on from the sport.
“I was just frustrated and I thought my dream had ended,” said Hernandez, who has sparred with Devin Haney in the past. “Now I have people in my corner who want the best for me. They’ve been a great addition to my life and my career. I’m thankful to all the people around me.
“There were times where I actually thought about quitting and retiring. I had my family, my wife and my two kids. When our second child was born, my family and I talked and we decided to move forward with my career. The birth of my second child gave me more motivation to go and fulfill my dreams.”
Hernandez has won his last six fights since suffering his only defeat of his pro career. He lost by knockout to Roger Gutierrez in July 2019.
According to Hernandez, the loss was a blessing, as it forced him to reassess what he was doing in the gym and in his career. Even at a younger age, Hernandez’s ring knowledge has allowed him to develop more into improving his skill-set.
“The loss helped me become more mature,” said Hernandez. “It actually allowed me to improve. I was sad and depressed, but I’m glad the loss happened when it did. I think, had I not lost, different steps would’ve taken place that would not have benefited me. God put that lesson in front of me so I could learn to be a mature and better fighter. In a way, the loss helped me get better mental preparation for me to fight the likes of Foster.
“Before I turned pro, I was in the amateur system in Mexico. Now they take care of fighters and things are more even, but I would fight those who were twice as old as me when I was an amateur. In a way, that’s an advantage I gained. I became mentally strong having to face those fighters and to develop the Mexican style that fans like. Coming forward and being aggressive was a staple to my career and I’ve continued to develop.”
Winning the world title belt would mean everything to Hernandez.
While he is humble to not state where he rates himself, Hernandez is eager to prove he belongs amongst the upper echelon of the division.
“I just want to improve in each fight. Seeing those fighters like Emanuel Navarrete and Francisco Vargas (both of who fought out of the Mexico City area) helped motivate me, but I want to create my own path and win a world title belt.”
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]