Elvis Rodriguez is ready to resume his knockout ways.
The last fight for the unbeaten junior welterweight prospect was a matter of getting the win and moving on to the next challenge. Rodriguez pushed past an awkward style challenge in outpointing Luis Alberto Veron, only to watch his eight-fight knockout streak come to a close this past February at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
“I really think it had to do with the opponent,” Rodriguez insisted during a recent media conference call to discuss his upcoming ring appearance this weekend. “He had an awkward style. It took me a little bit of time to get past that. “Once I was able to solve that style, you saw what I was able to do with him.”
Rodriguez (11-0-1, 10KOs) returns to Las Vegas for the sixth straight time since this pandemic. Fans will be in attendance for the first time over that stretch, as the Dominican southpaw faces former amateur standout Kenneth Sims Jr. The bout airs live on ESPN as part of a televised tripleheader this Saturday from The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.
“We are very happy with the performances we’ve had in the bubble,” notes Rodriguez, who managed to get in five fights in 2020 despite the pandemic and having to pull out of a slot last December due to COVID. “Now we are ready to fight with fans in the crowd. I’m very excited for that and for the opportunity to open up the ESPN telecast.”
Chicago’s Sims (15-2-1, 5KOs) has never been stopped or dropped as a pro and has reconnected with renowned cornerman Kay Koroma for this fight. Rodriguez comes armed with world class guidance of his own, as Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach has trained the 25-year-old since his pro debut.
Along with the guarantee of a spectacular win is the return of his signature air guitar performance which is normally reserved for when his opponent doesn’t hear the final bell. Rodriguez settled for his arm being raised in victory last time out. This time around, the plan is to make sure the judges aren’t required.
“We are 100% ready to put on a show. “The guitar is always there. But I get a little bit shy playing it if the knockout doesn’t come.”
The bout opens a three-fight telecast headlined by the undisputed junior welterweight championship between WBC/WBO titlist Jose Ramirez (26-0, 17KOs) and WBA/IBF champ Josh Taylor (17-0, 13KOs).
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox