FRANCISCO Rodriguez drove his point home to anyone who cared to listen during the official press conference for his World Boxing Organization (WBO) light-flyweight title fight against champion Donnie Nietes.
“Long live the new king,” said the 21-year-old Rodriguez on Thursday, unmindfulthat he’s face-to-face with the Filipino pride, who stakes his 108-lbs. championship belt on Saturday at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu during the main bout of the popular boxing series Pinoy Pride.
“Just like the old times, the king has fallen,” added the cocky Mexican challenger.
Nietes, calm and confident, just let his young, brash opponent do his antics, aware that all that matters is what happens inside the ring.
“I’ll wait for you,” said the 33-year-old Nietes, the longest reigning Filipino world champion of all-time.
Rodriguez is back in the Queen City of the South eight months following his forgettable performance against last-minute entry Jomar Fajardo in a fight where he was lucky enough to escape with a draw.
The two had a rematch in Mexico a few months later and Rodriguez emerged a unanimous decision winner.
Still, the former WBO and International Boxing Federation (IBF) minimumweight champion wants to make up for his lackluster showing and prove what he’s capable of doing in front of discerning Cebu fight fans.
“I’ve come very confident and prepared this time around,” stressed the Mexican, who has a record of 17-2-1, with 11 KOs.
Rodriguez’s bout with Fajardo was part of the undercard of Nietes’ title defense against Carlos Velarde, who the native of Murcia, Negros Occidental disposed of inside seven rounds.
Nietes, the lone Filipino world champion today, carries a record of 35-1-4, with 21 KOs.