Emmanuel Rodriguez is determined to reclaim his title when he clashes with Melvin Lopez for the vacant IBF Bantamweight World Championship. The event will be broadcast live on SHOWTIME® on Saturday, August 12, as part of the Premier Boxing Champions event held at The Theater at MGM National Harbor in Maryland.
“We’re coming to KO Lopez,” Rodriguez declared confidently. He projected his dominance to assert itself by the sixth, seventh, or eighth round of the match. Rodriguez aims to subdue Lopez’s aggressive approach by controlling the ring’s center or cornering him against the ropes, adding, “If we have to adjust, I’m confident we’ll still be successful.”
Rodriguez, who held the IBF title from May 2018 until he lost to Naoya Inoue in May 2019, has propelled himself back into world title contention. His victory over the then-undefeated Gary Antonio Russell in October 2022, and his ongoing training in Jiquipilco, Mexico, underscore his determination. Rodriguez believes his experience and mental sharpness will be his advantage on the fight night.
“My experience is going to make all the difference,” Rodriguez asserted, emphasizing that it’s not only about experience but also his skills and quality as a fighter. He plans to unsettle Lopez, confident that when a fighter is out of his comfort zone, mistakes are inevitable. He contends, “This fight will be 70% mental and 30% physical. I’m a savvy fighter.”
Rodriguez’s potential victory on August 12 could make him Puerto Rico’s fourth current male world champion. He looks forward to joining the ranks of 140-pound champion Subriel Matias, 108-pound champion Jonathan Gonzalez, and 105-pound champion Oscar Collazo, alongside renowned women’s champion Amanda Serrano.
“Becoming the fifth current Puerto Rican world champion would be amazing,” Rodriguez reflected. He spoke warmly about his daily interaction with fellow champion Subriel Matias, underlining the strong camaraderie and mutual support among Puerto Rican fighters.
Looking beyond his immediate match, Rodriguez aspires to become undisputed at 118-pounds. If he is victorious next weekend, he could possibly face off with the newly crowned WBC Bantamweight World Champion Alexandro “Peque” Santiago. Santiago, who recently defeated future Hall of Famer Nonito Donaire, could potentially be the next significant challenger in Rodriguez’s quest to unify the titles.
“Being undisputed is hard, and it’s my ultimate goal,” Rodriguez expressed his ambition. Surprised yet impressed by Santiago’s recent victory over Donaire, Rodriguez is eager for a possible future match to unite the titles, rekindling the storied rivalry between Puerto Rico and Mexico in the ring.
“Since winning the title, I’ve grown in maturity and experience. Becoming the fifth world champion from Puerto Rico is an honor I’m aiming for.”
“I promise victory on Saturday. I believe I’m the fiercest competitor he’s ever encountered.”
“I’m here to stake my claim as the top fighter in our division. My performance will be a clear message to every other champion.”
“Puerto Rico has been incredibly supportive. It’s time to return that love with a victory this Saturday.”
“By the fourth round, I’ll have a read on his strategies. And I believe I can take him down between rounds four and seven.”
“Mexico has embraced me during my training. It feels like a second home. I owe it to them to give my best.”
“On Saturday, fans will witness Emmanuel Rodriguez at his peak. That’s a promise.”
“A win would be a testament to my years of hard work and a matter of immense pride.”
“He’s all talk. The ring on Saturday is where words meet action.”
“I don’t promise knockouts. I stalk my opponent, looking for the right moment. What comes next is fate.”
“We both claim to be the best. Saturday is the day we prove it.”
“For that world title, I’ll push my limits. My goal is to ensure that title is mine by the end of the night.”
GARY ANTUANNE RUSSELL
“Expect a top-notch performance from me on Saturday. Cruz will come at his best, and I’m prepared to extinguish his fire.”
“My knockout record is impressive, but continuous victory is the true goal. I won’t let the pursuit of a knockout overshadow that.”
“My aim is to operate at peak efficiency and skill. That’s my route to victory.”
“Cruz should brace himself. This is a tough sport. Respect to him, but I’m here to show my love and mastery over boxing.”
“Representing my hometown makes this fight special. If I excel, it’s a win for my community. Everyone will see the beast in me.”
“Fighting at home is less about pressure and more about pride. I’m comfortable and ready.”
“A win against Russell is a game-changer for my career. It’s the challenge I’ve been preparing for.”
“People are in for a surprise. We’ve rejuvenated the old Kent Cruz in our camp. Saturday will be the night I defy expectations.”
“Having faced southpaws consistently, my training’s been consistent. I enjoy these matchups because they align with my strategies.”
“Russell’s got the home pressure. I just need to stay true to my plan. I’m ready to do whatever it takes.”
“Many overlook me, but I’m here to make them take notice.”