By Jake Donovan
Mario Rodriguez refuses to go away quietly. The former strawweight titlist rode the wave of a knockdown and a rush of adrenaline to pound out a points win over Odilon Zaleta in an elimination bout Saturday evening in Sinaloa, Mexico.
The main event aired live on Cadena Tres in Mexico, and also streamed live on WBC's website.
Rodriguez entered the contest having lost two straight, beginning with his 105 lb. title reign coming to an end earlier this year. The resurgent Mexican set his sights on the junior flyweight division, but came up massively short in a separate elimination bout versus Pedro Guevara this past June.
The setbacks hardly had Rodriguez feeling down, as he's been here before. The ex-titlist was 10-6-4 before turning his career around in 2011, peeling off eight straight wins including a massive upset of then-unbeaten Nkosinathi Joyi to win the strawweight title.
Rodriguez looked like that very same fighter on Saturday evening, settling for nothing less than an all-out war versus Zaleta. His countryman obliged, as the two traded bombs for nearly the entire contest. Zaleta was drilled midway through the fight, but dusted himself and stood toe-to-toe for the remainder of the bout.
The effort was noble, but not enough to get past the determined Rodriguez, who now has his sights set on a second title reign. The win, which advances his record to 16-8-4 (8KO), puts him in line for a future crack at two-time junior flyweight titlist Adrian Hernandez.
Zaleta falls to 15-3 (8KO), suffering his first loss since getting drilled by Luis Concepcion in two rounds a couple of years ago.
In the televised co-feature, Abdiel Ramirez made lightning quick work of Jose Angel Apodaca. The lightweight fight was over in the blink of an eye as the 22-year old picks up his sixth straight win, improving overall to 20-1-1 (18KO).
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox