Saul KO Solis

Riverside’s Rodriguez KO’s Solis, Viloria Wins Too

By Jeannie Avila
GLENDALE, CA.-Saul “Neno” Rodriguez took a little time to figure out Argentina’s Juan Solis before unleashing a three-punch combination to end the super featherweight on Saturday.

A large crowd sold out the Glendale Civic Auditorium to see a trio of knockout artists including the Riverside youngster Rodriguez (15-0-1, 12 Kos) who has stormed through the super featherweight ranks. It’s evident that he’s ready for the next level and is one of Top Rank’s newest budding stars.

“He was a little awkward,” said Rodriguez, 21, who is trained by Eduardo Garcia and Robert Garcia. “He got me mad when he caught me.”

The awkwardness of Solis (21-9, 8 Kos) allowed him to connect in the first round with a right hand while Rodriguez was figuring out the Argentine’s style. It also allowed Solis to win the first round of their contest.

“I worked on my defense but he was strong,” said Rodriguez.

Slowly but surely the Riverside prizefighter began to use his jab to open up Solis’s defense and when a right uppercut connected in round four,  it was apparent that the Argentine was stunned and hurt. Rodriguez followed up with some blazing combinations but was unable to put the finishing touch.

“I could see that he had recovered,” Rodriguez said. “I didn’t want to blow my load.”

Rodriguez dominated the fifth round as Solis seemed to be uninterested in testing the power of the Riverside fighter. During the rest, in Solis corner, you could see his corner man Shane Mosley telling the Argentine to beware of the right hand. 

“I saw Shane Mosley say watch out for the right,” Rodriguez said.

In the sixth round Solis went on attack and ran into a left hook immediately followed by a right cross. Down he went and though he beat the count, the referee Jerry Cantu wisely stopped the fight at 56 seconds into the round.

“I would have really hurt him,” said Rodriguez. “It was a good stoppage. I’m glad the referee stopped the fight.”

Rodriguez said he may be fighting in January but has not been told a specific time or place.

Former junior flyweight and flyweight world champion Brian Viloria (35-4, 21 Kos) circled and waited for Armando Vasquez (21-12) of Mexicali to show a familiar pattern in their flyweight contest. In the fourth round Viloria recognized it and sent Vasquez down for the count with a single devastating blow. A crunching counter left hook blasted down Vasquez who could not get up at 1:37 of round four. Viloria awaits another shot at the flyweight title that he lost to Juan Francisco Estrada by decision.

Michoacan’s Jose Felix Jr. (28-1-1, 23 Kos) didn’t need to run down Yucatan’s Luis Solis (15-6-4) who stayed right in front of him. It was perfect for Felix who dropped the taller Solis in the second round with a left hook. Somehow Solis survived but in the third round he wasn’t so lucky when another left hook floored him for good at 41 seconds of the frame in the super featherweight bout.

(photo by Al Applerose)