By Steve Corbo
She has been called “This Television Season’s It Girl”. She just won a Golden Globe Award for “Best Actress In A Television Series Musical Or Comedy”. She just had a full page picture of her, with her Golden Globe and that winning smile splashed across the pages of People Magazine! She’ll be on the cover of the March 2015 issue of Latina Magazine. Gina Rodriguez seems to be everywhere, riding high on a wave of success based on her portrayal of Jane Villanueva in the hit TV series “Jane The Virgin”. And quite frankly… it couldn’t happen to a nicer person! She’s bright, articulate, she hasn’t forgotten her roots and she’s a role model.
Now here is the tie into boxing… if her name sounds familiar it is because her father is Chicago referee “Geno” Rodriguez. Boxing fans have seen Geno in the ring refereeing some of the game’s top fighters. Most recently he was in China refereeing the Manny Pacquiao – Chris Algieri bout. He also did Pacquiao – Brandon Rios. And over the years fight fans have seen him refereeing bouts with Wladimar & Vitali Klitschko, Joe Calzaghe, Nigel Benn, Hector Comacho and dozens of other champions and top contenders.
I have worked with Geno in countless amateur and professional boxing matches over the past 30 years. We have met each other’s wives and children. The phenomenal success of his daughter Gina, on a truly massive and international scale, is a source of pride and happiness for all of us who know Geno, his wife Magali and their family. The stars have to come from some place… And this one came from our own backyard, right here in Chicago.
Some years ago First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy accompanied her husband, the President, on an official visit to France. She immediately captivated the French people with her charm, elegance and her fluency in French. She was such a hit, and became so popular, that President Kennedy was compelled to introduce himself, at an official state function in Paris, by saying; “I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris and I have enjoyed it!”
I think my friend Geno better get used to being introduced as “Gina Rodriguez’s Father”. And just like President Kennedy… I know he will enjoy it too!