Elvis Rodriguez came back from his first career defeat to knock out Juan Pablo Romero in the fifth round, opening the Canelo vs Plant pay-per-view card with a good performance in a good fight.
Rodriguez (12-1-1, 11 KO) was coming off of a loss to Kenneth Sims Jr in May, after a breakout year for buzz last year in the Top Rank “bubble.” Following his defeat against Sims, he and Top Rank parted ways, and this was his PBC debut. He made it a good one.
Romero (14-1, 9 KO), a 31-year-old former Olympian from Mexico, was looking to get his own pro career really moving with this matchup, and he looked good for a couple of rounds, really busy and out-boxing Rodriguez. But there was clearly the sense that Rodriguez, 25, was the harder hitter. It came down to whether or not Romero could deal with that and maybe let his more well-rounded game get the better of Rodriguez, who had more plus attributes but also more technical flaws.
Romero couldn’t do it. He was dropped in the fourth round, smartly taking a knee when hurt instead of waiting for more damage, and then late in the fifth he was smashed with a left hand and put on the canvas, where he stayed seated and took the 10-count from referee Robert Hoyle.
It’s obviously a good step in the right direction for Rodriguez, a Dominican southpaw trained by Freddie Roach who certainly still has some appeal and isn’t ruined by losing one fight. He can fight, he didn’t seem content to wait tonight as much as we’ve seen in the past, and he has real power. If nothing else, he makes for a good TV fighter, and could certainly be more than that.