On May 5, Emmanuel Rodriguez was in London as a relative unknown, an untested prospect from Puerto Rico fighting for the vacant IBF bantamweight title against Paul Butler.
He quickly made it clear that he was no joke, dropping Butler twice in the opening round and routing him over 12 to win the belt by unanimous decision.
Now, Rodriguez (18-0, 12 KO) is signed up for the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament, and says that’s his ultimate goal at this point in his career, to prove he’s the best at 118.
From Sky Sports:
“The goal now is to win this tournament, that’s my next ambition. ... The ultimate goal is to become the best in the world and beat the best fighters. There are four world champions signed up already so the quality is of the highest level. We are all at quite a similar point in our careers so it’s great to finally find out who really is the best at 118 pounds.”
There’s already some stiff competition in the tournament in the form of Naoya Inoue, Zolani Tete, and Ryan Burnett, plus four more to be named. Whomever wins this tournament will indeed prove they’re the best at bantamweight.