By Francisco Salazar
Junior bantamweight contender Francisco Rodriguez dropped David Barreto four times en route to a second-round knockout victory Saturday night at the Gimnasio Municipal del Pueblo Magico in Linares, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
With the win, Rodriguez, who resides in nearby Monterrey, improved to 31-4-1, 22 knockouts.
Rodriguez was fighting for the first time since fighting to a close, decision victory over veteran Oswaldo Novoa on Apr. 6 in Cancun, Mexico. Barreto was taking a major step-up in opposition after facing mediocre opposition in his home country of Venezuela.
The southpaw Barreto swung and missed with several wide punches, but Rodriguez remained composed, especially in the pocket. A right to the stomach dropped Barreto midway through the opening round. After getting up, Barreto was battered across the ring and was dropped a second time during the round by a barrage of punches. Barreto would get up and make it out of the round.
Barreto did well in spots in the second round, but a right hand to the body dropped him to the canvas. Barreto beat the count, but Rodriguez ended matters by dropping Barreto against the ropes from another barrage of punches to the head. Referee Rodolfo Ramirez stopped the bout at 2:59.
“My opponent said he was going to knock me out by the sixth round,” said Rodriguez, who is promoted by Promociones Del Pueblo. “We worked quietly in the gym without saying anything publicly. You saw the results here (Saturday night).”
The 25-year-old Rodriguez is a former world titleholder at 105 pounds. He is currently ranked No. 5 by the WBC and No. 6 by the WBO.
Rodriguez believes he is more than ready to fight any of the world titleholders in the division.
“We want a world title opportunity.”
“Francisco is on a path to become a world champion, even though he is still young,” promoter Oswaldo Kuchle told Boxingscene.com last week. “He is a spectacular fighter with great qualities. We hope to guide him to a world title fight before the end of the year.”
Barreto, from El Tigre, Venezuela, drops to 12-0-1, 12 KOs.
In the co-feature, junior welterweight prospect and 2016 Mexican Olympian Lindolfo Delgado stopped previously-unbeaten Eduardo Cordovez of Venezuela at the end of the third round.
Delgado was fighting for the first time in Linares, where he was born. Delgado was the sharper and landed the more-telling blows throughout the fight.
The 24-year-old Delgado ended matters at the end of the third round as a left hook to the body hurt Cordovez (12-1-1, 10 KOs), prompting the referee to step in and stop the bout.
Delgado is trained by Robert Garcia in Riverside, California.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing