In the sport of boxing, when you speak of fighters from Hispanic backgrounds, the countries involved are normally Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico and both Central and South America.
Rarely do you hear any fighters making their way out of the Dominican Republic as the sport of baseball rules over the entire country.
Elvis Rodriguez (6-0-1) is a twenty-four year old from the Dominican Republic who is making some noise in the Super Lightweight division as he is being trained by future Hall of Famer Freddie Roach.
Rodriguez came out of nowhere and the sharp scouts at Top Rank did not hesitate to sign the young fighter to a contract before hitting the radar of rival promoters. The first time I saw him fight was last April, at the Staples Center after a Loma fight and ever since then, I have been keeping a close eye on him.
He has the tools and the potential to be special one day so I wanted to make sure the readers of nyfights.com, had the opportunity to get to know a fighter who is on the rise.
Let me introduce you to Super Lightweight prospect Elvis Rodriguez.
AG: Elvis, thank you for taking the time out to conduct this interview. Let’s take it all the way to the beginning. Let the readers know where your from and what it was like growing up in the Rodriguez household?
ER: I am from the Dominican Republic specifically the city of Santo Domingo in a sector named Los Mina which is where I started boxing at the young age of eleven. I grew up with both of my parents and I have two older brothers. As a kid, I started out playing baseball but I also used to put on boxing gloves while being in the streets as it was something that always caught my attention. Although I played baseball, I always ended up fighting with some of the other kids on the baseball field. The competition always drove me and because I fought a lot on the field, the coaches would kick me out and tell me to go be a boxer since I enjoy fighting all of the time. So, that’s exactly what I ended up doing.
AG: As you were growing up and getting to know boxing a little better, was there a fight or fighter that caught your interest which really pushed you to start boxing?
ER: My father was a fanatic when it came to boxing. I didn’t have a specific fight that solidified boxing for me however, one fight that really caught my attention was the one between Felix Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya. I remember that fight being on channel seven in the Dominican Republic and my father was anxiously waiting for hours to see them fight. There were a lot of people in the house who were there to watch the fight with my father. I had a feeling it was a big event but even then, I didn’t really care for it as much as my father did at that time.
AG: You started boxing at eleven and made your way through the amateur ranks. Tell the readers some of those specifics and when exactly you decided to turn Pro.
ER: As you mentioned, I started boxing at the age of eleven and my first trainer was Jesus Pujol. He basically taught me everything when it came to boxing and told me I would be a world champion one day. Right around the age of fourteen, I was part of the national boxing team for the Dominican Republic. I went thru all of the youth brackets before making it to the Pan American, Central America and International Games. Once I experienced all of that, I decided to turn Pro at the age of twenty-two.
AG: How did you end up being trained by the future Hall of Famer Freddie Roach and are there any language barriers?
ER: The first thing I did was get in contact with Benji Lieblien who is now my manager. He told me he would bring me to Los Angeles to workout with Freddie Roach. I arrived to Wild Card and went over some drills and exercises to showcase myself in front of Freddie. Little by little, each day, we were working together and when I knocked out a guy that was 11-0 in sparring, that is when Freddie immediately decided to work with me on a full time basis.
As far as the language barrier, the more I worked with Freddie, the more I understood what he was telling me and what he wanted me to do. At the same time, although not great, my English has been coming together so it has helped me through training. If there are ever times where we get stuck, there’s always someone at the gym who speaks both languages and can step in to help translate.
AG: As it relates to Freddie Roach, are there any interesting stories you care to share?
ER: Although this story is not about Freddie, it involves one of his great champions by the name of Manny Pacquiao. Around five or six years ago, my aunt who sells somewhat used clothes, called me to her shop as she said she had a tee shirt that had a picture of Manny Pacquiao on it for me. She knew I liked Pacquiao as a fighter so when I got to the shop, she gave me the shirt and told me that one day I would go to L.A and would be training alongside Manny by way of Freddie Roach. This was years before meeting Freddie so it’s crazy how things turn out because look at me now.
AG: In 2019, you were busy which resulted in a total of five fights. Is that the type of work rate we should expect from you this year?
ER: God willingly, if all goes well and there are no injuries, I look to stay as busy as possible while either matching or surpassing last year’s number of fights.
AG: The Super Lightweight division is loaded with talent and their current champions are at an elite level. How soon do you see yourself maybe competing against one of those big names?
ER: We are going to continue to build up little by little in hopes of fighting the big names in the division. I just have to keep working hard everyday so that I can make it to that point in my career. God willing, in about a year and half, I’ll be ready to fight any of those top names in the division.
AG: For someone that hasn’t seen you fight in the past and will be tuned into a future fight of yours, how would you describe your style to them?
ER: I have a really versatile style. I can box, brawl, fight on the inside or fight from the outside. It just really depends on my opponent and what they are bringing to the fight.
ER: Expect the best of Elvis Rodriguez as we are 100% focused and are working hard to bring the best possible performance for those attending and/or watching on tv.
AG: Where can fans follow you on social media?
ER: They can follow me on Instagram @elvisrodriguezbox or on Facebook.
Elvis Rodriguez is the type of fighter that when you see him live, the first thought that comes to mind is that he is really talented and has the potential of being a world champion someday in the not so distant future. I am alerting you all now, he is the real deal and everyone will know who he is by the end of the year.
You can follow me on twitter @abeg718 and on Instagram @nyfights.