Francisco Rodriguez


Former national Golden Gloves champion Francisco Rodriguez died Sunday night, two days after losing a bout in Philadelphia.


Rodriguez, 25, collapsed after being stopped in the 10th round by Teon Kennedy and was rushed to a hospital for emergency brain surgery Friday.

“It’s with a very heavy heart that we make this announcement,” promoter Dominic Pesoli of 8 Count Productions said. “Francisco was family to us and we all loved him very much.”

Rodriguez, who was born in Mexico, was 14-2 going into Friday’s bout against Kennedy for the vacant USBA super bantamweight title. Rodriguez was a national Golden Gloves champion in 2001.

Philadelphia promoter J. Russell Peltz says Rodriguez began to lose consciousness as the boxer sat in his corner after the fight was stopped.

“It would be easy for me to question why he was allowed to come out for the 10th round,” Peltz told the Philadelphia Daily News. “His arms were limp by his sides. He had nothing left; he was spent. But then his arms were hanging by his sides after every round.”

The ringside doctor said he checked on Rodriguez multiple times and didn’t see anything out of the ordinary.

“I’ve replayed it over and over in my mind — the fight itself, the time between rounds,” Levyn told the Daily News. “He was coherent. He answered all my questions — simple questions like, ‘Where are you? What’s your name?’ And his eyes were reactive. It seemed like he was OK.”

Known affectionately as “EL Nino Azteca”, Rodriguez had been a fan favorite in the Chicago area since turning pro in January 2005.

Pesoli said a fund is being set up for Rodriguez’s wife and infant daughter. Details on funeral arrangements will be announced shortly.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.