Rodriguez reveals plans to knock Lopez out
Former Champion Rodriguez Battles Streaking Contender Melvin Lopez for Vacant Bantamweight Championship Live On SHOWTIME® Saturday, August 12 in Premier Boxing Champions Event From MGM National Harbor in Maryland
Former bantamweight world champion Emmanuel Rodriguez plans to become a two-time world champion in emphatic fashion when he battles streaking contender Melvin Lopez for the vacant IBF Bantamweight World Championship live on SHOWTIME® on Saturday, August 12 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from The Theater at MGM National Harbor in Maryland.
“We’re coming to knock Melvin Lopez out,” said Rodriguez. “I believe that I will be dominating the fight by the sixth, seventh or eighth round. It’s going to be just a matter of time.
“Our goal is to drive him back because we know he has an aggressive style and reputation. We’re going to prevent that by fighting in the middle of the ring or pinning him against the ropes. If we have to adjust, I’m confident we’ll still be successful.”
Rodriguez held the IBF title from May 2018 until dropping the belt to Naoya Inoue in their May 2019 clash. Most recently, Rodriguez put himself back into world title contention by defeating the previously unbeaten Gary Antonio Russell in October 2022. Currently training in the city of Jiquipilco, Mexico, Rodriguez believes that his experience and mental edge will be the difference maker on fight night.
“My experience is going to make all the difference,” said Rodriguez. “Not just my experience, but also my skills and my quality as a fighter. The key is to take Lopez out of his comfort zone. When you’re out of your comfort zone, you make mistakes. This fight will be 70% mental and 30% physical. I’m a savvy fighter.”
Representing his native Manati, Puerto Rico, Rodriguez can become the country’s fourth current male world champion with a win on August 12. In addition to highly decorated women’s champion Amanda Serrano, Rodriguez looks to join 140-pound champion Subriel Matias, 108-pound champion Jonathan Gonzalez and 105-pound champion Oscar Collazo.
“Becoming the fifth current Puerto Rican world champion would be amazing,” said Rodriguez. “Subriel Matias is here training with me and we talk every day. Oscar Collazo and I are close too, and we stay in touch. We all root for each other. Matias always tells me to believe in myself and is a real motivator for me. Boricuas are riding the wave of success and we have to enjoy the moment.”
Rodriguez hopes to work towards becoming undisputed at 118-pounds, a journey that could see him a matchup with recently crowned WBC Bantamweight World Champion Alexandro “Peque” Santiago, who won the title last weekend with an impressive performance against future Hall of Famer Nonito Donaire on SHOWTIME PPV®. If Rodriguez is successful next weekend, he hopes to make that fight the next in the storied ring history of Puerto Rico vs. Mexico.
“Being undisputed is hard and it’s my ultimate goal,” said Rodriguez. “Santiago’s performance surprised me a lot. I didn’t think he would win, but he fought flawlessly and put on a clinic against Donaire. ‘Peque’ wasn’t little at all, he looked big. I hope he can be my next opponent to unify titles in another edition of the Puerto Rico vs. Mexico rivalry.”
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