LAS VEGAS – Luis Nery envisions Emmanuel Rodriguez suffering a second straight quick knockout defeat Saturday night.
The hard-hitting Mexican southpaw intends to join Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue as opponents who’ve knocked out the former IBF bantamweight champion this year. Rodriguez will fight for the first time versus Nery since Inoue stopped the previously unbeaten Puerto Rican in the second round of their World Boxing Super Series semifinal May 19 in Glasgow, Scotland.
The winner of the scheduled 12-round bantamweight bout between Nery (30-0, 24 KOs) and Rodriguez (19-1, 12 KOs) will become the mandatory challenger for France’s Nordine Oubaali (17-0, 12 KOs), who owns the WBC 118-pound championship. The Nery-Rodriguez fight will be broadcast by FOX Sports Pay-Per-View as part of the Deontay Wilder-Luis Ortiz undercard from MGM Grand Garden Arena (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT; $74.95 in HD).
“My style is gonna be way better than his and I’m gonna knock him [out] early in the fight,” Nery told BoxingScene.com prior to a press conference Thursday at MGM Grand. “My preparation and my strength gives me the knowledge to know that I’m gonna knock him [out]. My talent and my strength is telling me I’m gonna knock him [out].”
Inoue needed less than five minutes to demolish Rodriguez in their scheduled 12-round fight for Rodriguez’s IBF bantamweight belt six months ago.
A left hook by Inoue sent Rodriguez to the canvas 32 seconds into the second round. Rodriguez reached his feet, but he was dropped twice more – first by a right to the body, then by a left downstairs.
Referee Michael Alexander stopped their title fight 1:19 into the second round.
The 24-year-old Nery was surprised by how poorly the 27-year-old Rodriguez fared against Inoue, who has emerged as one of the best boxers, pound-for-pound, in the sport.
“I thought he could do more,” Nery said, “but he was afraid of [Inoue].”
Most Internet handicappers have set Nery as at least a 6-1 favorite over Rodriguez. Nery knocked out the Dominican Republic’s Juan Carlos Payano (21-3, 9 KOs) with a left to the body in the ninth round of Nery’s last fight, July 20 at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.