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The Cyber Boxing Zone Encyclopedia -- Lineal Champion

Luis Manuel Rodriguez
("El Feo")

BORN June 17 1937; Camaguey, Cuba (Some sources report March 14 1937)
DIED July 1 1996; Miami, Florida (Some sources report July 8 1996)
WEIGHT 140-168 lbs
MANAGER Ernesto Corrales
TRAINER Angelo Dundee


Rodriguez was an outstanding "action" warrior who came to "git it on" - and "git it on" he did; He was an exciting two-handed fighter could box or punch, upstairs or down; He was quick, had stamina and was game; During his career, he won the Welterweight Championship of the World and the Welterweight Championship of Cuba

Luis defeated such men as Emile Griffith, Curtis Cokes, Virgil Akins, Benny "Kid" Paret, Joe Miceli, Georgie Benton, Joey Giambra, Chico Vejar, Yama Bahama, Isaac Logart, Denny Moyer, Holly Mims, Rubin Carter, Bennie Briscoe, Teddy Wright, Kid Fichique, Johnny Gonsalves, Langston Morgan, Tony Mundine, Dave Hilton and Bobby Cassidy

Herb Goldman ranked Rodriguez as the #8 All-Time Welterweight; Luis was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1997

Luis Rodriguez fought from 1956 thru 1972 & was a top ranked welterweight & middleweight from 1959 until the end of his illustrious career. In the 14 years that he was world rated, he beat an unbelievable amount of top contenders & world champions. The two main reasons for his present day obscurity are that he only held the welterweight title for a brief 47 days & he had the misfortune to have his career coincide with the equally great Emile Griffith's. They met four times & Griffith won 3 of 4 by razor thin margins. Emile has been quoted in a recent Ring article as saying, "Rodriguez moved a lot. He was always busy, & he threw a lot of combinations. He was more a boxer than a puncher . . . hit & move. He drove me crazy! I guess we got to know each other a little bit. Each time was a war, & I had to make adjustments, always changing my style. Was he an all-time great fighter? I would say so."

Stylistically, Luis was an extremely long- armed pogo stick, bouncing around the ring like a kangaroo throwing blinding combinations in machine gun bursts. How's that for a mixed metaphor! As Griffith said, he was more boxer than puncher, but he had plenty of power attested by his 49 kayo's out of 107 career wins. Keep in mind, many of those kayo's were against the top middleweights of his era. Rodriguez was never really more than a skinny 147 pounder.

The list of champions & top 10 contenders (getting rated in those days really meant something ), near & all-time greats he beat is staggering. Among the champions were Benny "Kid" Paret (twice), Virgil Akins, Emile Griffith, the very under-rated Curtis Cokes & Denny Moyer. Some of the other top welters he beat were Isaac Logart, Johnny Gonsalvez, the also under-rated Frederico Thompson, L.C. Morgan, Garland Randall, & Charley Austin. At the same time he campaigned as a welter he'd jump up to 149-150 lb's. & take on & beat top middleweights in his spare time! A partial list of his middleweight victims: Wilbert "Skeeter" McClure (twice), Holly Mims, Percy Manning, Bennie Briscoe (he even beat him in Benny's hometown, Philadelphia, by decision no less!), George Benton, Ernie Buford, Jimmy Lester, Tony Mundine, Vicente Rondon, Gene Armstrong, Tom Bethea, Joey Giambra & Rubin "Hurricane" Carter. Awesome.

Yet, even boasting such a sterling record, Luis Manuel is today relegated to obscurity. As I mentioned before, the short title reign & the crucial crossroads losses to Griffith are the main culprits. Hank Kaplan suggests another; as he describes it: "Rodriguez had a beautiful jab; it was so fluid. & he had this little defensive motion where he made you miss by inches. He fought everybody. . . remember he was beating Nino Benvenuti when he got caught by a left hook & was so unspectacular, that's why I think he's not remembered these days."

The Ol' Spit Bucket respectfully begs to differ. I must have seen Rodriguez fight at least 30 times. Mostly on TV & video tape (I saw him live twice); as he was a regular fixture on the Friday night broadcasts in the early 60's, before Gillette pulled their sponsorship. I found him to be an exciting if highly unorthodox boxer. When he fought the feared Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, he bipped & bopped him into utter bafflement. At one point Carter was so enraged by the futility of trying to nail Rodriguez; he bull rushed him into a corner, picked him up & actually tried to fling him over the ropes!

What most fans remember (if they do at all), are his losses to Emile Griffith. Those two guys were so evenly matched that their fights were boring. In some ways their fights were reminiscent of the Leonard vs. Benitez bout. While highly dramatic & absorbing to aficionados, to the casual fan they were a snore. Luis never went into a fight looking for a knockout. Yet, when he got a fighter hurt, he was as deadly & quick striking as a cobra. Otherwise he was content to go the distance. I never once saw him brawl. Guile not testosterone was his thang ... He was also blessed with an iron mandible. His three kayo losses were all at the tail end of his long career. The opponents were the great Nino Benvenuti & the near-great Curtis Cokes; both who were in their primes. The third was to journeyman banger Rafael Gutierrez, when Luis was on his last legs.

It gladden's what's left of the Ol' Spit Bucket's heart to see an article like the Battle of the Legends between Jose Napoles & Luis Manuel Rodriguez in the December '95 issue of Ring Magazine. The three experts chosen to evaluate this particular dream match had peerless credentials. Angelo Dundee (who trained & managed Rodriguez), Emile Griffith (who fought Rodriguez four times & Napoles once) & one of boxing's two foremost historians (the other being Herb Goldman), the esteemed Hank Kaplan. Considering what a great fighter Napoles was, I think it's really telling that all three of the "judges" picked Rodriguez to win handily. Kaplan, actually writes that Rodriguez was probably the most underrated lighter weight fighter of the past half-century! Wow! Hank Kaplan throws undo praise around about as often as Newt Gingrich attends Lollapalooza to mosh in the pit.

Kid Gavilan & Jose Napoles are generally rated as the two greatest Cuban welterweights. But take a good look at Rodriguez's career record & Gavilan's & Napoles' pale in comparison. In fact the Ol' Spit Bucket would put his money on Louis against any welter or jr. middleweight of the past 50 years with the exception of both Sugar Rays' & Emile Griffith, who seemingly had his number. Tommy Hearns & Mike McCallum would be very tough calls ... I can hear the gnashing of teeth & the howls of disdain from readers screaming "Hey you dumb! ##X**#XX! what about Duran! Basilio! Curry! Palomino! Napoles! Benvenuti!" Well, Benvenuti did kayo Luis, very late in his career, when he was way past his prime. Even so, Rodriguez was winning the bout against a peaking Nino Benvenuti, when he was caught with a picture perfect left hook in the 11th round. Nevertheless, I stand firm. I believe he would have found a way to beat any of them.

A footnote to Rodriguez's story: Few are aware of it, but Luis was a huge influence, in & out of the ring on the young, impressionable, Cassius Clay. & Both were trained by the venerable Angelo Dundee. The most obvious influences were the beautiful snake like jabs they both possessed. They also had somewhat similar styles in the ring: The constant peripatetic movement & blazing flurries. They also shared the unusual ability to inflict severe damage while backpedaling. Another was their similar personality's outside the ring. Luis' happy go lucky ways, infectious grin & constant chatter with the press & fans fit right in with young Cassius' modus operandi.

Luis Manuel Rodriguez was an artist of the fistic canvas -- a true master of his chosen craft.

Record: 107 wins (49 kayos), 13 losses, and 1 No Contest
Jun  2 Lazaro H. Kessell          Havana, Cuba                     KO  3
Jul 21 Vicente Reyes              Havana, Cuba                      W  4
Oct 20 Julian Yanes               Havana, Cuba                      W  4
Nov 28 Pablo Cardenas             Havana, Cuba                     KO  2
Dec 15 Jose Hernandez             Havana, Cuba                     NC  2

Jan 12 Jose Hernandez             Havana, Cuba                     KO  5
Feb 16 Guillermo Diaz             Havana, Cuba                      W  6
Mar 23 Vicente Reyes              Havana, Cuba                      W  6
May 18 Vicente Reyes              Havana, Cuba                      W  4
Jun 22 Antonio Salas              Havana, Cuba                      W  8
Jul 20 Guillermo Diaz             Havana, Cuba                     NC  6
Sep 28 Gomeo Brennan              Havana, Cuba                      W  8
Nov 15 Rolando Rodriguez          Havana, Cuba                      W  8

Feb  8 Benny "Kid" Paret          Havana, Cuba                      W 10
Mar 29 Rolando Rodriguez          Havana, Cuba                     KO  4
Apr 19 Tony Armenteros            Havana, Cuba                      W 10
Jul 26 Charley Scott              Havana, Cuba                     KO  9
Aug  9 Benny "Kid" Paret          Havana, Cuba                      W 10
Sep 20 Kid Fichique               Havana, Cuba                      W 12
          -Welterweight Championship of Cuba
Nov 22 Juan Padilla               Havana, Cuba                      W 10

Feb 21 Joe Miceli                 Havana, Cuba                     KO  5
May  9 Cecil Shorts               Havana, Cuba                     KO  9
Jun 17 Virgil Akins               Miami Beach, Fl                   W 10
Aug 26 Rudell Stitch              Louisville, Ky                    W 10
Oct  3 Larry Baker                Havana, Cuba                      W 10
Oct 21 Isaac Logart               Miami Beach, Fl                   W 10
Dec 23 Garnett Hart               Miami Beach, Fl                   W 10

Feb 10 Carl Hubbard               Miami Beach, Fl                  KO  4
Mar  2 Chico Vejar                Miami Beach, Fl                   W 10
Apr  7 Alvaro Guiterrez           Los Angeles, Ca                  KO  4
May 26 Alfredo Cota               Los Angeles, Ca                  KO  2
Jul  6 Virgil Akins               Louisville, Ky                    W 10
Aug 17 Basil Campbell             Havana, Cuba                     KO  5
Oct 24 Mel Collins                Tampa, Fl                         W 10
Nov 16 Yama Bahama                Miami Beach, Fl                   W 10
Nov 28 Johnny Gonsalves           Oakland, Ca                       W 10
Dec 17 Emile Griffith             New York, NY                      L 10

Feb 21 Lyle Mackin                Oakland, Ca                      KO  5
Mar 22 Johnny Gonsalves           Oakland, Ca                       W 10
Apr 15 Alvaro Gutierrez           Mexico City, Mexico              KO  5
May 13 Alfredo Cota               Guadalajara, Mexico              KO  4
Aug  3 Curtis Cokes               Dallas, Tx                        L 10
Sep 13 Guy Sumlin                 Miami Beach, Fl                  KO  6
Oct 24 Jose Gonzalez              Miami Beach, Fl                  KO  7
Dec  2 Curtis Cokes               Miami Beach, Fl                   W 10

Jan 27 Federico Thompson          New York, NY                      W 10
Mar 17 Ricardo Falech             Miami Beach, Fl                  KO  3
May  4 Yama Bahama                New York, NY                     KO  3
Jun 30 Gene Armstrong             New York, NY                     KO  8
Aug 29 Ernest Burford             Miami Beach, Fl                  KO  7
Nov  6 Santiago Gutierrez         San Antonio, Tx                  KO  3
Dec 12 Mel Collins                Miami Beach, Fl                   W 10

Jan 19 Joey Giambra               Miami Beach, Fl                   W 10
Mar 21 Emile Griffith             Los Angeles, Ca                   W 15
          -Welterweight Championship of the World
Jun  8 Emile Griffith             New York, NY                      L 15
          -Welterweight Championship of the World
Aug 17 Denny Moyer                Miami Beach, Fl                  KO  9
Oct 18 Wilbert McClure            New York, NY                      W 10
Dec 27 Wilbert McClure            Miami Beach, Fl                   W 10

Mar 29 Holly Mims                 New York, NY                      W 10
Apr  3 Jesse Smith                Miami Beach, Fl                   W 10
Jun 12 Emile Griffith             Las Vegas, Nv                     L 15
          -Welterweight Championship of the World
Nov 14 Langston C. Morgan         Mexico City, Mexico              KO  2

Feb 12 Rubin "Hurricane" Carter   New York, NY                      W 10
Mar 26 Johnny Smith               Los Angeles, Ca                  KO 10
Apr 21 Garland Randall            Tampa, Fl                         W 10
Jul 16 Memo Ayon                  Los Angeles, Ca                  KO  3
Jul 26 Jose Asumpcao              Las Vegas, Nv                     W 10
Aug  3 Charley Austin             Phoenix, Az                       W 10
Aug 26 Rubin "Hurricane" Carter   Los Angeles, Ca                   W 10
Oct  4 Johnny Morris              Philadelphia, Pa                 KO  2
Nov 16 Cecil Mott                 Miami Beach, Fl                  KO  4
Dec  2 Eddie Pace                 Las Vegas, Nv                     W 10
Dec 20 Joe Murphy                 Albuquerque, NM                  KO  4

Jan 18 Fred McWilliams            Phoenix, Az                      KO  9
Jan 25 Joey Limas                 Albuquerque, NM                  KO  4
Mar  7 Georgie Benton             Philadelphia, Pa                 KO  9
Apr 11 Percy Manning              Philadelphia, Pa                  L 10
May  7 Tommy Caldwell             San Juan, PR                     KO  2
Jul  6 Curtis Cokes               New Orleans, La                  LK 15
Sep  9 Juarez DeLima              Rosario, Argentina               KO  3
Sep 24 Ruben Orrico               Rosario, Argentina               KO  4

Jan 21 Manuel Alvarez             Mar del Plata, Argentina         KO  8
Feb  7 Esteban Osuna              Rosario, Argentina                W 10
Mar 20 Bennie Briscoe             Philadelphia, Pa                  W 10
Jun  4 Rocky Rivero               San Juan, PR                      W 10
Jun 17 Jimmy Lester               Oakland, Ca                       W 10
Sep  7 Ferd Hernandez             Oakland, Ca                       W 10
Sep 29 Phil Robinson              Caracas, Venezuela               KO  3
Oct 21 Marvin "Candy" McFarland   Caracas, Venezuela                W 10
          -Some sources report 11/16/67 in "Maracaibo, Venezuela"
Nov  6 Percy Manning              Caracas, Venezuela               KO  1
Dec 15 Bennie Briscoe             New York, NY                      W 10

Feb  6 Charley Austin             Miami Beach, Fl                  KO  6
Mar 26 Carl Moore                 Miami Beach, Fl                   W 10
May  7 Teddy Wright               Miami Beach, Fl                   W 10
Jun  3 Vicente Rondon             San Juan, PR                      L 10
Jul 18 Vicente Rondon             San Juan, PR                      W 10
Sep  4 Rudy Rodriguez             Key West, Fl                     KO  4
Nov 15 Joe Shaw                   New York, NY                      W 10

Jan 21 Doug Huntley               Miami Beach, Fl                   W 10
Feb 20 Bobby Williams             Tampa, Fl                        KO  7
Mar 31 Rafael Gutierrez           San Diego, Ca                    KO  6
Jul  8 Eddie Owens                Miami Beach, Fl                  KO  7
Aug 12 David Beckles              Miami Beach, Fl                  KO  2
Sep 23 Tom Bethea                 Miami Beach, Fl                   W 10
Nov 22 Nino Benvenuti             Rome, Italy                      LK 11
          -Middleweight Championship of the World

Feb 10 Porter Rolle               Miami Beach, Fl                  KO  4
Mar 17 Joe Cokes                  Miami Beach, Fl                  KO  4
Apr 14 Willie Warren              Miami Beach, Fl                   W 10
Jun 16 Porter Rolle               Miami Beach, Fl                  KO  5
Jul 31 Jose Gonzalez              San Juan, PR                      L 10
Aug 20 Fraser Scott               Seattle, Wa                       W 10
Sep 24 Jose Gonzalez              Miami Beach, Fl                   W 12
Dec  1 J.C. Ponder                Miami Beach, Fl                  KO  5

Jan 26 Bob Cassidy                Miami Beach, Fl                   W 10
Apr  7 Tony Mundine               Melbourne, Vic, Australia        KO  1
May 25 Bunny Sterling             London, England                   L 10
Aug  3 Rafael Gutierrez           San Francisco, Ca                LK  6
Nov  1 Mike Padgett               Greenwood, Ca                    KO  2
Nov 30 Dave Hilton                Miami Beach, Fl                   W 10

Mar 16 Mike Lancaster             Seattle, Wa                       L 10
Apr 12 Donato Paduano             Montreal, Que, Canada             L 10

*** Assistance Was Provided By Tony Triem ***

Record courtesy of Tracy Callis, Historian, International Boxing Research Organization



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