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Delvin Rodriguez: The Night and Fight Hes Waited For - Boxing News
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 Last update:  10/4/2013       Read more by Thomas Gerbasi            &
Delvin Rodriguez: The Night and Fight Hes Waited For
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By Thomas Gerbasi

Before his last bout against Freddy Hernandez in May, Delvin Rodriguez talked of staying busy, of fighting anyone put in front of him until he got the big fight he wanted. It was the talk of a professional, of someone who had his shots at the brass ring previously but fell short, leaving him in a position where his only option was to fight until he couldnt be ignored.

That could have been the recipe for a long bruising trip through the 154-pound weight class as he looked to erase the memory of a dismal Showtime-televised loss to Austin Trout in June of 2012. But after a sixth round TKO of George Tahdooahnippah in February, he picked up another TKO win over Hernandez, and thats when things got interesting, as whispers about a possible fight with comebacking Puerto Rican superstar Miguel Cotto began.

Rodriguez heard those whispers.

There was a little talk, and when the talk started I felt it was a big possibility because I thought, who else does he have? said Rodriguez. They tried two different opponents and I believe TV did not want those fights, so after I heard that, I said okay, its a big possibility now.

Nothing is that cut and dried in this business though. All the Twitter campaigns and media pleas in the world wont make a fighter or a network move if they dont want to. So while ESPN fights are nice, especially for someone like Rodriguez, who has become a staple on the network, a return to premium cable against Miguel Cotto was the dream fight. So he waited, and waited.

It really sucks, he said of the time between a fight being discussed and a fight being signed. Its gonna happen, its not gonna happen. But I said Im just going to start training like it was going to happen, and it happened. Here we are.

Rodriguez got the fight. Against Cotto. On Saturday. On HBO. And no one wanted it more.

I fought for the world title twice, and for me, this is much bigger than the world title, said the Connecticut resident. Ive been fighting a guy who has been at the top for a long time, a guy that is known by the whole boxing world. You say Cotto and everybody knows him. So for me, this is my biggest fight and this is how I trained for the fight, how Im looking at the fight, and how Im stepping into the ring on the fifth.

At 33, Rodriguez is actually a year older than Cotto, a former three division world champion looking to recapture past glories after losing his last two fights. But Rodriguez had his own boxing demons to put the rest, whether its the listless Trout fight or his other title fight loss, a controversial split decision nod to Isaac Hlatshwayo in 2009. It always seemed like whenever he would get close to the big time, the Rodriguez who beat Pawel Wolak, Oscar Diaz, and Mike Arnaoutis didnt show up. So in his biggest fight, he knows what needs to be done.

I think its all experience, he said. You learn from your mistakes. The Trout fight was a totally different fight. I made a big mistake, which was waiting for that precise moment to catch him, instead of making it happen by throwing my combinations and pressuring him. I learned from that, and thats what a good fighter does. In each fight I pick up a little something, and if I make a mistake I try to correct it in training. And to make it to the top, youve got to do that. You have to correct your mistakes as you go along.

And now his time his here, and while 99.9% of fighters talk a good pre-fight game, a lot smaller percentage of those fighters actually sound like they mean it. Rodriguez is not disrespectful, not brash, not dismissive of Cotto, but he does sound like a man ready to win at the Amway Center in Orlando this weekend.

Im so calm, I feel like I belong here, he said. I feel like it was only a matter of time until I was here, and Im just so happy. I actually feel like I should have been here already. But I had so many setbacks and I dont want to think about that. Im here now, and I want to take advantage. Im gonna take all my experience and everything that has happened along the way and put it to use.

Hell be putting it to use against a Cotto who looked good in his May 2012 loss to Floyd Mayweather, but then seemed to be two steps behind in last Decembers defeat against Trout. Rodriguez is under no illusions about what Cotto has been through, but he still expects a fighter with plenty left in the tank.

I see a guy who has been a champion and on the top level for so many years, and hes a guy that is very hungry right now because hes trying to make that comeback, he said. So its gonna be a good fight. Im very hungry to demonstrate that I belong on that level, and hes hungry to get back and show the fans that he still has it. So its a very interesting fight and a very good fight for the fans.

In a year of great bouts, it does have the potential to join the ever growing list of Fight of the Year candidates, and thats because Cotto is expected to go on the offensive immediately to prove that hes back. For most opponents, that would be bad news, but Rodriguez is at his best when he plays matador, and not bull. So if Cotto comes out aggressively and possibly desperate, that plays into Rodriguez hands.

I think so, and I think at the beginning thats what he (Cotto) is going to do, he said. Hes really gonna try to go for it and I like that. Im very focused, we trained very hard for this fight and well take advantage of something like that when he gets wild and forgets about technique. He might be a little desperate, and Im hoping for that. In fact, I expect that.

Rodriguez expects that and he wants that, but you know what they say: be careful what you wish for.

I have to be the most focused Ive ever been, he said. I cant lose focus for one second in that ring. I have to be one hundred percent the whole fight because Cotto is a dangerous fighter. He can catch you and hurt you with one punch, and hes coming to fight. So Ive got to stay alert. Conditioning we have, now we just have to stay alert and stay focused.

If he does that, the biggest fight of his career might just turn into the biggest win of his career.

Tags: Miguel Cotto , Delvin Rodriguez , Cotto-Rodriguez , Cotto vs Rodriguez

 User Comments and Feedback (must register to comment)

comment by Hyper Knuckles, on 10-07-2013
Delvin by way of brutal ko in round 3.

comment by Hougigo, on 10-04-2013
I think Cottoo wins, but not by KO

comment by mshap, on 10-04-2013
golden opportunity for Rodriguez -- Cotto's skills have been declining for years -- Delvin needs to go after him early, throw lots of punches, engage in exchanges and move, move, move for the 1st part of the fight -- he needs to bust Cotto up early,tire him and slow him down in the first 6 rounds...

Delvin Skill
comment by moonshineman, on 10-04-2013
I like Delvin, and I know he has been robbed on several occasions. Cotto has a skill level that Delvin doesn't have. The only way Delvin can win is if Cotto fights Delvin like he fought Trout. If that happens, Rodriguez wins.

comment by Adamjr91, on 10-04-2013
I'm still in a little shock that Cotto is fighting D. Rodriguez. This fight is such a mis-match. Rodriguez is at best an ESPNFF fighter. If Cotto has 10% left in the tank he will win this comfortably.

Post A Comment/View More User Comments (8) 

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