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Release- November 23, 12:01 am

Popular Chicago Boxer Francisco Rodriguez Dies From Brian Injury Suffered During a Bout Fought Friday Night In Philadelphia

(November 23, 2009)- Francisco “Paco” Rodriguez, one of Chicago’s most popular boxers, died Sunday night at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia after succumbing to a brain injury suffered during a bout fought Friday night. As he bravely fought his last battle, the twenty-five year-old father of a five-month-old girl was surrounded by loved ones including his wife, parents and brothers.

In Friday evening’s main event, Rodriguez (14-3-1, 8 KOs) faced Philadelphia native Teon Kennedy (14-0-1, 6 KOs) for the USBA super bantamweight title from the legendary boxing house, the Blue Horizon. After nearly being stopped in the first round, Paco came out strong in the second, attacking Kennedy to the body. The fighters continued to engage in a back-and-forth battle that had the knowledgeable Philly fight fans on their feet.

During the 10th round, after an offensive blitz from Kennedy, referee Benjy Esteves Jr. stepped in and stopped the bout. Kennedy won by TKO and had been ahead in a competitive fight by scores of 87-83, 86-83 and 86-84.

Upon returning to his corner, Paco said he felt “sleepy” and was immediately rushed to Hahnemann University Hospital where he underwent surgery to stop a brain bleed and swelling. He remained in a coma until he passed.

A decorated amateur champion, Paco was a five-time Chicago Golden Gloves Champion, a 2000 National Golden Gloves bronze medalist and, in 2001, at the age of just 17, a National Golden Gloves Champion.

In 2004, Paco defeated (the same) Teon Kennedy at the Eastern Trials by a score of 24-19 to earn his berth as one of eight American flyweights (112 pounds) competing in the US Olympic Trials.

He turned professional in January of 2005 and quickly became a Chicago fight fan favorite. Nicknamed “El Niño Azteca,” Paco was known for his exciting style, mixing superior boxing skills with a “Mexican warrior” attitude and an unforgettable ring walk.

The Rodriguez family is loved and respected by Chicago’s tight knit boxing community. Evaristo Rodriguez Senior, father to three sons, is a native of Guadalajara who boxed professionally in both Mexico and the US. His middle son, Evaristo Junior, was a 1999 National Golden Gloves Champion who won numerous Chicago Golden Gloves titles. Many local fans fondly remember Junior’s Chicago tournament bouts as legendary.

Paco was Evaristo’s youngest son. Trained by his father and Junior, Alex, the oldest brother, was Paco’s manager. As was the case during every bout of Paco’s life, Evaristo Senior and Junior were working Paco’s corner.

Paco was a devoted husband, father, brother and son. A fund is being arranged to assist his family with their medical and funeral expenses. Remaining funds will be put in trust for his daughter.

Details regarding the Francisco Rodriguez Fund as well as wake and funeral services will be announced as soon as possible. In the mean time, the family is preparing to bring Paco home to Chicago.



9 Responses

  1. Paco was a great kid and a great warrior. We will all miss him.

  2. Francisco was such a great family guy and talented boxer. I always enjoyed talking with him at work… he was so excited to get married and so in love with his wife- it was really a privilege to know him.

  3. Francisco was a good guy good friend I knew since we were little kids he always had a passion for boxing may he rest in peace

  4. please accept my sincerest condolences on the untimely passing of your beloved family member. I didn’t know him and only heard about this tragic loss in the newspaper. As a fan of boxing I take particular interest in this sad outcome as it makes me recall another bout in which a fighter also died, Doo Koo Kim…many years ago in a fight with Ray Mancini.

    Unfortunately, this is a very real part of the sport of boxing but not one that happens often, thankfully.

    We know that Francisco was doing what he loved most and as a warrior, I think that if he had to choose how to leave this earth, this would have been his choice…

    Once again, please accept my sincerest condolences…

    10 bells for Francisco…

  5. Mis mas sincero pesame para toda la familia Paco era un buen amigo e hijo siempre estara en nuestras mentes y oraciones.

  6. Alex n Tito my sisters Nancy, Idalia n Alma would like to send u our sincer condolences on the pass of your brother. Our prayer r w u. Please email me to give us info on the funeral. R.I.P. Paco

  7. I will start by saying am a fighter out of Harvey and we all knew him as one of the best fighters out there and we all just wanted to say he will be missed and how sorry we are for what happend if there is anything we can do give us a call 708 333 8353

  8. de verdad lo siento mucho mi mas sinsero pesame para todos. yo a el lo conosi cuando estube alla en chicago oy mire esta pagina y no lo podia creer me acuerdo q yo fui varias veses a gimnasio donde entrenaba yo iba por q acompanaba a barbaro zepeda amigo mio y una ves estaba afuera sentado y paso pacao y me saludo me saludo asi normal y me paresio muy buena onda espero q dios lo tenga donde se merese estar.

  9. Its not enough to say Im sorry..so many peoples
    lives were touched and saved..nothing short of amazing, sweet and sad..Magical,no, not the type we all know as illusions- the real kind,the one that we all know as..devine intervention,that
    one.He Paco was the main ingredient,a devine
    higher power brought everyone together and something very magical happened,Paco created
    love between people that otherwise would have been strangers as they passed each other as they crossed the street.Sugar could never be as sweet…I can only imagine your sadness and the
    pain you must feel.I am so sorry for your loss. I
    will pray for strength for you and for God to shine a ray of his light before you as your guide
    through any path..may God bless you and keep you always close…a truly amazing work of God
    in your lives.I felt the love between your family and the recepients of Pacos gifts.I live over one
    thousand miles away,but i felt it..sweeter than honey.Gracias Paco,Gracias por todo….R.A.Y

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