Arum: Verdejo technically a Top Rank fighter until murder case resolved

Felix Verdejo is still a contracted Top Rank fighter, even if there is almost no chance he will ever box for the US promotional giants again.

Verdejo (27-2, 17 KOs) is the chief suspect in the murder of Keishla Marlen Rodriguez, a mistress of the married lightweight contender who was apparently one month pregnant with their child.

Having been denied bail, the Puerto Rican is currently in jail in Guaynabo, awaiting trial for the carjacking, kidnapping and murder of Rodriguez. He has been removed from Top Rank’s website, but will remain contracted until the murder case is resolved, according to promoter Bob Arum.

“Anyone involved in this murder has obviously committed a heinous act,” Arum told WAPA-TV. “That said, we are aware that Felix has been arrested and is in police custody, but we must remember that in the American legal system, a person is innocent until proven guilty.

“So in that sense, even if he was released on bail, we won’t promote him in [another] fight, but we will not release him unless he is convicted and that is our official position. This is truly tragic. All of this is unimaginable. He was always well-mannered. If he was really involved in this tragedy, it is truly unfortunate.

“A man no matter how bad he looks, is innocent until proven guilty and we will not release him from the contract, or end our relationship with him unless and until he is convicted,” added Arum. “We will not have any participation, neither in the defence, nor in their legal situations. We will not be involved. In the meantime, my prayers are with him and the judicial system will continue its course.”

Meanwhile, the victim’s father Jose Rodriguez has said he would want Verdejo to be spared the death penalty should he be found guilty of his daughter’s murder.

“It is better to give him 100 years [in jail] and for it to weigh on his conscience every day for the rest of his life,” said the grieving Rodriguez.