EXPIRED: 11/22/09 – Francisco Rodriguez, 25, was a national Golden Gloves champion in 2001 and continued to fight as a bantamweight, based out of Chicago. He went pro in 2005 and had won the Golden Gloves several times.
Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Rodriguez was known as “El Nino Azteca” and was loved in the Chicagoland area.
His father, Evaristo Rodriguez Sr., was a boxer in Mexico and in Chicago, and trained all three of his sons. His brother Tito Rodriguez won a national Golden Gloves championship as a 17-year-old and then retired from the ring.
Too bad Francisco Rodriguez didn’t do the same. On Friday he was in Philadelphia, matched against local pounder Teon Kennedy at the Blue Horizon. Rodriguez collapsed after being stopped in the 10th round, a TKO. His father and brother had been in Francisco’s corner at the along with trainer George Hernandez.
Rodriguez was rushed to Hahnemann University Hospital where emergency brain surgery was performed.
He died two days later, on November 20th. It was the first fatality directly attributed to boxing injuries in Philadelphia in more than 31 years.
The death of junior featherweight Francisco “Paco” Rodriguez on Sunday night will not have been in vain.
Two days after Rodriguez was knocked out by Teon Kennedy in the 10th round of a ferocious fight for a regional title at Philadelphia’s famed Blue Horizon, Rodriguez died from a brain injury he suffered in the bout.
His death, however, will save the lives of at least eight people, including his uncle. Rodriguez’s family announced that it was donating multiple organs from the fallen fighter, including a kidney to his uncle.
“We just learned that Paco and our uncle are a match,” Alex Rodriguez, Francisco’s brother, said in a statement. “Our uncle has been on the waiting list for a kidney transplant for a long, long time. So although we’ve tragically lost Paco, we’re able to give this incredible gift of life to another family member.
“My family is desperately grieving the loss of Paco, but there is some comfort knowing that he will save at least eight lives and benefit so many families.”
Rodriguez’s organs are being donated through the “Gift of Life” donor program.