The coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of people out of work. Many have looked for alternative ways to put food on the table and that situation is no different for former world titleholder Mario Rodriguez. After the gym in which he worked was closed because of the pandemic, Rodriguez decided to open a barber shop in his native Guasave, Sinaloa, in northwest Mexico.
"I was world champion, but, you know, lightweights in boxing don't earn much money, and I took some out to get by right now," says Rodriguez, who won the IBF strawweight world title in 2012 with a seventh-round KO victory over Nkosinathi Joyi, then lost the belt seven months later in his first defense against Katsunari Takayama.
Rodriguez, 31, retired last June following the shooting death of his trainer, Jacinto Antonio Diaz, who was in Rodriguez's corner when he became a world champ.
"After retirement I started training boxers with Diaz's son Agapito," Rodriguez says. "But they shut down the gym we were training at because of the coronavirus. I've been out of work for a few days and you have to have enough to eat, so that's why I opened up a place to cut hair."
Last Saturday, Agapito Diaz posted a photo on social media of Rodriguez inviting potential customers over for a haircut, at a cost of 50 pesos (about $2).
By midweek, "Dragoncito" Rodriguez had seven paying customers.