CEBU CITY: A confident Francisco Rodriguez of Mexico says he is ready to dethrone reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) light flyweight king Donnie Nietes when the two face off in the main event of Pinoy Pride 31 at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu City today.
“To be a champion, you have to come to the house of the champion,” said Rodriguez, who is only 21 but is a former WBO and IBF mini flyweight champion.
It isn’t Rodriguez’ first trip to Cebu as he fought in the undercard of Donnie Nietes defense against Carlos Velarde.
However, instead of beating Jomar Fajardo, a win that could have set him up for a bout with Nietes in his next fight, Rodriguez struggled against the Cebuano and had to settle for a draw.
Rodriguez, who challenged Nietes to a fight after the press con of the Nietes vs. Velarde title fight, blamed that draw on his lack of preparation, something which he said is no longer true now.
“The first time I was here, I wasn’t 100 percent prepared. My concentration was off,” said Rodriguez, who is now 17-2-1 with 11 KOs.
After that draw with Fajardo, Rodriguez faced the Cebuano anew in Mexico and won by unanimous decision last Jan. 31.
“In our second fight in Mexico, I was more focused and now that I’m back, I’m 100 percent prepared,” said Rodriguez, who trained for two weeks in Manila before flying to Cebu.
“I came here last November to fight Nietes but it wasn’t given to me, I waited for one year for this chance and now I finally have it,” he said
And the Mexican, who will be the underdog coming into the fight, has vowed to knockout Nietes, the longest-reigning Filipino world champion.
“I come well-prepared and I vow to knock him out. I’m ready for him, the question is is Nietes ready for me?” said Rodriguez.Nietes, who is 35-1-4 with 21KOs and hasn’t lost since that controversial decision loss.