Rodriguez vs Lopez – Showtime – Aug. 12 -9 pm ET
Emmanuel Rodriguez readies himself to reclaim his place at the top, preparing for a thrilling fight against the rising contender Melvin Lopez. The vacant IBF Bantamweight World Championship title will be decided on August 12, live on SHOWTIME® at the MGM National Harbor in Maryland.
Rodriguez, a seasoned fighter hailing from Manati, Puerto Rico, commands respect with a record of 21 wins, 2 losses, and a knock-out ratio of over 50%. Following his technical decision victory over Gary Antonio Russell, Rodriguez has positioned himself for another shot at the world title he clinched in 2018 against Paul Butler.
Melvin Lopez, a strong contender from Nicaragua, boasts an impressive record of 29-1, inclusive of 19 knockouts. Since his singular career defeat in 2019, Lopez has swept his way through eight consecutive victories, displaying explosive prowess in the boxing ring.
Yet, this highly anticipated clash is not the evening’s only excitement. The co-main event features the undefeated Gary Antuanne Russell, a local Maryland fighter, in a 10-round super lightweight contest against Kent Cruz. The intriguing backstory to this match is Cruz’s past amateur defeat at the hands of Gary Antuanne’s elder brother, adding a personal touch to the high stakes.
The line-up further highlights a promising star on the rise, 22-year-old Travon Marshall from Landover, Maryland. This young prodigy with an unblemished record of 8-0, seven wins by knockout, will take on the two-time Olympian Gabriel Maestre in the welterweight telecast opener.
Maestre, a seasoned fighter from Venezuela, has scored victories against formidable opponents like Brian Castano, Carlos Adames, and Alexander Besputin. He steps into the ring with a formidable record of 5-0-1 and four knockouts.
Rodriguez confidently stated his plan to knock out Lopez, predicting that by the sixth, seventh, or eighth round, he would dominate the match. This bold assertion underscores Rodriguez’s game plan to neutralize Lopez’s aggressive style either by boxing in the middle of the ring or pinning him against the ropes.
Rodriguez held the IBF title from May 2018 until a defeat by Naoya Inoue in 2019. However, his most recent win over the previously undefeated Gary Antonio Russell has brought him back into contention for the world title. Rodriguez currently trains in Jiquipilco, Mexico, where he believes his experience and mental acumen will tip the balance in his favor.
Rodriguez’s victory on August 12 could make him Puerto Rico’s fourth current male world champion. He seeks to join the ranks of Subriel Matias, Jonathan Gonzalez, and Oscar Collazo. Rodriguez acknowledges the support and motivation from his fellow champions, reflecting the strong camaraderie among Puerto Rican fighters.
Rodriguez’s long-term ambition is to become undisputed at 118-pounds, potentially leading to a clash with newly crowned WBC Bantamweight World Champion Alexandro “Peque” Santiago. Santiago recently secured his title with an exemplary performance against future Hall of Famer Nonito Donaire. If Rodriguez emerges victorious next weekend, a match-up with Santiago would extend the historic ring rivalry between Puerto Rico and Mexico.
IBF Bantamweight World Championship – 12 Rounds
Emmanuel Rodriguez – 118 lbs.
Melvin Lopez – 117 lbs.
Referee: David Braslow; Judges: Walessa Roldán (N.Y.), Robin Taylor (N.Y.), Paul Wallace (Md.)
Super Lightweight Bout – 10 Rounds
Gary Antuanne Russell – 138.4 lbs.
Kent Cruz – 142 lbs.*
Note: Cruz was two pounds over the contracted weight of 140 pounds. The fight will proceed as scheduled.
Referee: Bill Clancy; Judges: Brent Bowell (Md.), Eric Irizarry (Md.), Sharon Sands (Calif.)
Welterweight Bout – 10 Rounds
Travon Marshall – 146.8 lbs.
Gabriel Maestre – 146.6 lbs.
Referee: Sharon Sands; Judges: David Braslow (Md.), Bill Clancy (N.C.), Paul Wallace (Md.)
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Bantamweight Bout – Eight Rounds
Michael Angeletti – 117.8 lbs.
Jonathan Lopez – 118 lbs.
Referee: Eric Irizarry; Judges: Sharon Sands (Calif.), Robin Taylor (N.Y.), Paul Wallace (Md.)
Middleweight Bout – 10 Rounds
Jose Benavidez Jr. – 158.6 lbs.
Sladan Janjanin – 160.6 lbs.
Referee: Brent Bowell; Judges: David Braslow (Md.), Bill Clancy (N.C.), Waleska Roldán (N.Y.)
Bantamweight Bout – Eight Rounds
Damien Vázquez – 120 lbs.
Jeronil Borres – 121.6 lbs.*
Note: Borres was 0.6 pounds over the contracted weight of 121 pounds. The fight will proceed as scheduled.
Referee: Sharon Sands; Judges: David Braslow (Md.), Eric Irizarry (Md.), Walaska Roldán (N.Y.)