Knocked out and getting back up

By Andrea Camarena

When Santiago Rodriguez hit the floor in the third round of his first professional loss, he turned to a familiar face to put his boxing career into perspective.

"Don't depress over it," Olga Rodriguez told her husband. "Imagine how opponents who have lost to you felt."

To Rodriguez it made sense and got him to remove his head from mourning his undefeated record.

Rodriguez began his professional boxing career just last year and in 2005 he has already made it to three four-round bouts.

His most recent fight called him out to San Jose for a fight at 'The Tank,' a reoccuring boxing event held at the HP Pavilion. Fighting in the Jr. Middle Weight Class, Rodriguez entered the ring to swap punches with a young boxer, Rene Auguaristi, in his professional debut. The fight was a 180-degree turn from Rodriguez' last bout. On April 1, Rodriguez knocked out his 0-1 opponent, Jesus Delgadillo, in the third round of their fight at The Palace in Lemoore. Just two weeks later, Auguaristi flipped the scenario to bring down Rodriguez in the fourth round of the fight at 'The Tank.'

The fight started off in favor of the seasoned fighter. "We knew we won the first round," Rodriguez said.

But the fight turned in the second round when officials counted a knock down as Rodriguez slipped and fell to the matt. Just a minute later in the same round, Auguaristi landed a power punch that sent Rodriguez to the mat again for his second knock down of the fight. The two knockdowns put Rodriguez behind three points as he headed into his comeback third round.

"We came back and won it big," Rodriguez said.

In order to avoid a draw, Rodriguez went into the fourth round with one goal in mind: A knock out.

"He just wanted to stay away from me," Rodriguez said. "He was looking for the opportunity to pt in one good hit. He was not making the fight happen. I was."

With 20 seconds left in the fight, Rodriguez unluckily stepped into an uppercut that landed on his forehead and sent him to the floor for good.

Rodriguez' trainer and manager, Doug Henderson, told Rodriguez not to be ashamed of himself and applauded him as a gracious loser.

Now Rodriguez will take a month off from his training. But the loss is not keeping the Farmersville boxer down.

"I really want to get back into it," Rodriguez said.

But in his time off, he will get a chance to spend time with his biggest support group of all; his family.

His training at home and working with Henderson in the ring along with sparring with members of Visalia's Northside Boxing Club occupies over two hours a day every day of the week. Rodriguez will now be available to come home after work at his full-time job and spend time with his wife and two young children; Junior "Chachin," 3 and Maria, 6 months.

Now, Rodriguez is anxious to return to the ring.

Rodriguez' has risen to the professional level through a humble but hardworking system of training.

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