Frankie Figueroa vs Noel Rodriguez on Nov 16

New York State Light Welterweight Champion, WBC Mundo Continental Hispano Champion and newly appointed NABF Light Welterweight Champion Frankie “El Gato” Figueroa, ranked the No. 14 contender by the IBF and the No. 12 contender by the WBC, is ready for his big day in the lime light. Friday November 16, 2007 Figueroa will headline on Telemundo as he defends his NABF title against Mexican contender Noel Rodriguez (13 wins, 1 loss, 5 knockouts) at the Civic Center in Kissimmee, Florida..

Figueroa (17 wins, 13 knockouts, 2 losses), a Nyorican who earned the moniker “King of The Bronx” after a victorious bout now known as, “The Battle From the Bronx,” against fellow Bronxite Joey “Mr.” Rios at Madison Square Garden in November of 2006, is extremely content to be fighting his first ever televised bout on the world’s second largest Hispanic Television Network.

Since beginning his professional career five years ago, Figueroa has had plenty of extremely challenging battles, both inside and outside of the ring. From being homeless in 2002 through 2003, having no management, Public Relations representation or promoter until recent, the light is finally shining down on Figueroa.

It’s been three years since the 29-year-old southpaw has seen a loss, asserting that he doesn’t plan on seeing one either. In the sport of boxing it’s no secret: many fighters, including numerous world champions have ducked and dodged their way to the top. Figueroa is a definite exception to that scandal. The draw back to not having any stable representation in his corner throughout most of his career meant facing whatever opponent brought to the table. Although many of his mismatched career fights have been face-offs with much more experienced fighters, Figueroa had no choice but to accept the challenge. “I’ve never backed down from anyone,” said Figueroa, “I have to support myself, and more importantly, my three-year-old son. So if I have to fight King Kong, so be it—it’s a challenge I’m willing to face.” Through his career challenges Figueroa has definitely become a much more experienced and aggressive fighter. Boring fights aren’t something spectators witness during any of Figueroa’s matches.

His skills have been in high demand as a chief sparring partner to some of today’s most notable boxing stars. This spring Figueroa assisted WBA champion Miguel “Angel” Cotto in preparation for his Madison Square Garden showdown against Zab Judah. He’s also lent his unique defense and offensive techniques to unbeaten English champion Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton, “Vicious” Arturo “Thunder” Gatti , Vivian Harris and several other fighters who all beat their opponents subsequent to their involvement with the Bronx Bomber. For Figueroa, a victory against Rodriguez means one step closer to superstardom. “Rodriguez is a good fighter and I’m giving him the opportunity to fight for the belt,” said Figueroa. “I know that he’s going to apply pressure and fight forward, which is what I love--with a passion. My mother always told me, ‘never take your eyes off your opponent.’ That advice has worked very well for me.” Figueroa is also following the guidance of his new trainer, Buddy McGirt Sr. “Buddy is a great technician,” says Figueroa. “He’s sharpening me up everyday. I expect to knock Rodriguez out cold!”

Figueroa made the exact same promise prior to his last fight on July 28 against Ubaldo Hernandez, who he knocked through the ropes in the twelfth round as Hernandez laid on the floor unconscious for nearly five minutes. That guarantee might have applied to his previous opponent, Julio llido on April 13, who said “No Mas!” and threw in the towel in round 4. That knockout promise was also granted on March 22, when Figueroa fought 44 fight veteran Antonio Ramirez who collapsed in the third round. “I plan on giving the fans what they love,” he says confidently. “I’m always good for that. November 16 is a date that fight fans around the world don’t want to miss. Count on it!”

Article posted on 05.11.2007

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