Nenos Main Event

Saul "Neno" Rodriguez Main Event

By David A. Avila

Climbing the road toward stardom can be a slippery adventure in the sport of pro boxing, but after three years Saul “Neno” Rodriguez has navigated the many potholes and finally reached main event status. 

“I’m excited to be the main event,” said Rodriguez. “Not the co-main event, but the main event.”

Rodriguez (17-0-1, 13 Kos) travels to Churchill County Fairgrounds in Fallon, Nevada where he’ll face Ramsey Luna (12-3) in an eight round lightweight clash on Saturday Aug. 22. UniMas will televise the Top Rank fight card.

All young prizefighters possess aspirations of becoming stars and world champions. It’s the dream of every young man or woman who slips on boxing gloves and steps in between the ring ropes.

The journey for Rodriguez began when he was eight years old in the city of Bell when he stepped through the doors of Azteca Boxing Gym. When his family moved to Riverside a short time later, it continued at Lincoln Boxing Club. 

At a young age the always slender kid showed promise. But you can never really determine for sure if an amateur big shot will make it all the way. The difference between amateur boxing and pro style is like comparing a small country dirt road to the Interstate-10 freeway. It’s a humongous difference. There are many factors that can determine success or failure.

So far Rodriguez has passed each road block with almost surprising ease.

Boxing promotion companies hire matchmakers to determine whose worth signing and spending money. They also help navigate each fighter through the rough terrain of prizefighting. Top Rank, which signed Rodriguez back in 2011, has one of the best matchmakers in the business Bruce Trampler.

Trampler along with others in Top Rank’s organization based in Las Vegas, have contributed toward steering Rodriguez in the proper direction. They match prizefighters like Rodriguez with differing styles and mentalities. Always with the thought of improving the fighting skills step by step.

Pro boxing has a variety of fighting styles and each boxer has his or her own strongpoints. Some have defensive styles with conservative punch outputs and others are more aggressive with punching machine mentalities that offset defensive inadequacies. Then there are prizefighters like Rodriguez who add an outer layer of defense to supplement their potent firepower.
Rodriguez will match fighting skills against Luna a fighter of equal size and weight hailing from Corpus Christi, Texas. 

“He’s a young hungry fighter closer to my age,” said Rodriguez of his next foe Luna. 

In Rodriguez’s last fight he had his eight-fight knockout string snapped by Antonio Capulin who lasted the distance after eight rounds. Though nearly stopped in the first two rounds the formerly undefeated fighter Capulin survived.

“He (Capulin) had over 100 amateur fights and a good chin,” said Rodriguez. “He didn’t want to lose.”

It was a match that allowed Top Rank to see if Rodriguez had graduated to the next level of prizefighting - the contender level. Now he’s finally the main event after nearly four years.

“I like it,” said Rodriguez.

Fight chatter

Bantamweight prospect Carlos Carlson (18-1) meets Pedro Melo (13-9-2) in the main event at Ontario Doubletree Hotel on Friday Aug. 21. Also on the Thompson Boxing Promotions fight card will be undefeated heavyweight LaRon “School Teacher” Mitchell (8-0) a heavy-handed southpaw matching blows with Curtis Lee Tate (7-6). For tickets and information call (714) 935-0900.

Shane Mosley has been sparring in Las Vegas with Shawn “Showtime” Porter to prepare for his rematch against Nicaragua’s Ricardo “El Matador” Mayorga on Saturday Aug. 29. The battle between former champions will take place at the Inglewood Forum. Mosley and Mayorga both promise a knockout. “We saw Shane spar with Porter now we guarantee a knockout in one round,” said Mayorga on Twitter. For ticket information go to

Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez said he’s excited about finally fighting WBC middleweight titlist Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico. “He's had an illustrious career.  I've always liked watching him fight; his style, his boxing.  It's a great honor for me to be fighting a fighter like Miguel Ángel Cotto,” Alvarez said. Their match takes place on Nov. 21, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Tickets went on sale last week. The fight will be televised on HBO pay-per-view.

IBF bantamweight titlist Randy “El Matador” Caballero of Coachella said he’s recovered fully from a serious leg injury that kept him from two scheduled title defenses. “Everything is good. I never stopped training,” said Caballero, 24. “I’m ready to defend my world title.” Caballero attended the Golden Boy Promotions fight cards in Los Angeles and Indio recently. He’s ready to make his first world title defense. “You’re not really a world champion until you defend the title,” he said.