Boxing‘s toughest little man is now under new management.
Former minimumweight world champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr. has broken ties with manager Jose Antonio Hernandez and is now under the care of boxing Hall of Famer Julio Cesar Chavez, per Izquierdazo, a Mexico-based publication.
Rodriguez, aptly nicknamed “Titanium,” had a rough 2015 under Hernandez, going 1-2 and losing a world title bid. He called the year the very worst of his career.
It prompted big change in the young Mexican’s camp.
“Julio Cesar Chavez is managing my career,” Rodriguez told the Mexican publication. “I’ve been talking to him and said that he knows what is needed for my career to once again be successful.”
Chavez, a three divisional champion, was a television announcer for Rodriguez’s barnstormer of a unification match with Katsunari Takayama in 2014. The Mexican megastar can be seen jumping from his seat with excitement.
Rodriguez is always exciting. And 2015, poor record and all, was still example of what makes Rodriguez one of the most cutthroat warriors in the sport.
After unifying the WBO and IBF 105-pound belts, anticipation grew for a potential mini superfight between Rodriguez and Donnie Nietes, the premier light flyweight on the planet.
Rodriguez, also known as “Chihuas,” moved up to 108 pounds to challenge Nietes in July but the wily champion’s movement and skill befuddled the 22 year old.
Chihuas turned right around and fought countryman Moises Fuentes in his very next fight. Fuentes is a top-ranked light flyweight and also the last man to not be thoroughly outclassed by Nietes, holding the Pinoy champion to a draw in 2013.
Rodriguez, though, came in overweight and ultimately on the wrong end of a unanimous decision to Fuentes.
At the end of January, it will have been an entire calendar year since Rodriguez’s last official win.
He has a long history fighting at the world level despite being in his early 20s.
A knockout of brawler extraordinaire Manuel “Chango” Vargas came when Rodriguez was only a teenager. A brutal TKO of the hyper-aggressive Merlito Sabillo for the WBO minimumweight title was just a year later.
The most impressive night of Rodriguez’s career, of course, was against current pound-for-pound king Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez in 2013. Gonzalez teed off on the 20 year old en route to a Round 6 TKO that looked like an early stoppage.
Rodriguez was firing back with spite like no one that age should have been capable of.
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