By Miguel Rivera
Currently, there are three world champions in Puerto Rico. That figure, however, could increase during the first part of 2018.
Undefeated Emmanuel "Manny" Rodriguez (17-0, 12 KOs) has two alternatives to reach his dream of winning a gold belt.
He hopes to fight forthe International Boxing Federation (IBF) title at 118 pounds. If successful, he would join Jesús Rojas, Alberto Machado and Ángel Acosta to form the group of Puerto Rican champions in different divisions.
The young boxer's first option was to face Paul Butler for the interim version, but the Englishman declined. Therefore, a challenge was extended to the Mexican Rodrigo Guerrero, who also did not accept, according to Rodriguez's manager Juan Orengo.
Now they are waiting to see what will happen with UK boxer Lee Haskins, who is interested in Rodriguez.
There is now the possibility that Rodriguez can fight for the WBC world title in the near future.
"We are waiting for an answer from the representatives of Lee Haskins. They asked us for some time to try to arrange a deal with the television broadcast in England, but we need an answer soon," said Orengo to Carlos Gonzalez.
"We can not wait that long (for Haskins) because the WBC is interested in having Manny as the world champion. Luis Nery and Shinsuke Yamanaka are going to an immediate rematch and the winner would go against Manny in a mandatory."
Orengo admitted that he does not rule out the possibility that Rodriguez will travel over to England to measure himself with Haskins.
"Over there the stadiums are filled. Manny is a good fighter, but he still does not draw a large number of people. When he is a world champion then yes. We are willing to go to England and fight in Haskins' backyard. We hope it will be in February because we are training for that date," concluded Orengo.