Saul Steals Show

Photo by Al Applerose


Saul Rodriguez steals the show.


By Igor Frank

LAS VEGAS - Saul “Neno “Rodriguez needed a signature win to advance his career. A first round knockout of Mexican tough guy, Ivan Najera (16-2,8KO'S) was just that. Scheduled for ten rounds in a lightweight division the fight was televised by Tru TV live from Cosmopolitan Resort and Casino.


Twenty-two years old Rodriguez came out looking for a knock out throwing a left hook as his first punch just to see if his opponent was paying attention. “I wanted to see if I could catch him cold," said Rodriguez when I caught up with him after the fight. “They go down easier if they are cold."


The first left hook just grazed his opponents head, but the one he landed two minutes later, that followed a right cross, hit the target. Najera crashed the canvas as if he was hit by a baseball bat. He beat the count but looked like a beaten man with the left eye bloodshot and swollen. Like a wild cat Rodriguez pounced on his prey forcing the referee to end the contest at 2:06 mark of the very first stanza.


It was a very impressive performance for a young fighter from Riverside who brought his own fan club to Chelsea Arena at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Fans loudly chanted his nickname Neno! Neno! Neno ... They got treated to a spectacular knock out.


Rodriguez (19-0-1,14KO'S) who boxed well in between thunderous left hooks and demonstrated a stiff jab as well as fluid movement, had something to prove. He wanted to show everyone that he is just as good as a fellow rising star from the Top Rank promotional stable, Puerto Rican, Felix Verdejo who was ringside for the event on Friday night.


A few months earlier it took highly touted Verdejo ten rounds to best Ivan Najera. It took Saul Rodriguez less than a round. Perhaps Neno is ready for a next step; perhaps his next fight should be on HBO. The young undefeated phenom seems poised and ready.


Rodriguez has definitely stolen the show from the main event which featured undefeated super middleweight Gilberto Ramirez (33-0,24KO’S) dominating Gevorg Khatchikian (23-2,11KO’S).



Contact Igor Frank via email or via Twitter (Fightmonger