By Fernando Gaztambide
After winning a unanimous decision over world ranked contender Alberto Guevara of Mexico in June, Puerto Rico's Emmanuel "Manny" Rodriguez is heading into a final world title eliminator under the International Boxing Federation (IBF) on Friday, January 13 in Puerto Madryn Province of Chubut, Argentina.
Rodríguez (15-0, 10 KO's) will face former World Boxing Organization (WBO) flyweight champion Omar Narvaez (46-2-2, 24 KOs) of Argentina, where the winner will be the mandatory challenger to current IBF 118-pound champion Lee Haskins of England.
"When I was offered the fight, I quickly accepted because I understand that I have what it takes to beat Narvaez, even if it's in front of his own people," said Emmanuel Rodríguez, who has solid victories over durable fighters like David Quijano of Puerto Rico, Luis Hinojosa Of the Dominican Republic and Alberto Guevara of Mexico.
"Many people tell me that I have to knock him out in Argentina and that is really the plan but without losing my focus because Narvaez is very uncomfortable and if I get very aggressive, he also uses that in his favor by implementing his technical boxing. I have to be aggressive, but also intelligent."
Rodriguez, who is historically the first Puerto Rican to win a gold medal at the Youth Olympic Games (Singapore 2010) is ranked fourth by the IBF and the World Boxing Council, and he is in seventh place by the World Boxing Association (WBA) and in the eighth position by the WBO.
Narvaez is the current the 118-pound IBF Latino champion. In his last appearance in June, he defeated Breilor Terán by unanimous decision.