By Keith Idec
Delvin Rodriguez recognizes that he’s 33 years old, 0-2 in world title fights and running out of time to make what he had hoped out of his boxing career.
That’s what makes Rodriguez so appreciative of getting a shot at Miguel Cotto on Oct. 5 in Orlando, Fla.
“The way I’m looking at this fight is like it’s now or never for me,” Rodriguez said during a news conference Tuesday at Amway Center to officially announce the 12-round, 154-pound fight, which will be broadcast by HBO. “I fought for the world title twice and I came [up] short, a little bit. … I’m motivated more than ever because facing a fighter like Miguel Cotto, who’s been fighting the best in the division forever, a true champion, a true warrior, it’s something that motivates me.
“That’s the type of person that I am. No disrespect to the people that I fought in the past, but for some reason I went down to their level. I didn’t really show what I have. I didn’t show my technique, I didn’t show my ability, the potential that I have to be a great fighter, to be on that level of a fighter like Miguel Cotto and Mayweather and Canelo and all those fighters. So for this fight, I’ve got to tell you I’m motivated more than ever.”
Rodriguez (28-6-3, 16 KOs), of Danbury, Conn., has stopped George Tahdooahnippah (31-1-1, 23 KOs, 1 NC) and Freddy Hernandez (30-5, 20 KOs, 1 NC) in his two fight since losing a unanimous decision to Austin Trout 13½ months ago in Carson, Calif. After defeating Rodriguez, Trout (26-1, 14 KOs) also out-pointed Cotto comfortably in the former three-division champion’s last fight, Dec. 1 at Madison Square Garden.
“Like I said, I’m looking at this fight like it’s now or never,” Rodriguez said. “I’m putting everything I have into it and I believe a fighter like Miguel Cotto, a warrior that comes forward, and my style, once we clash it’s going to make a great fight for the fans, which is one of the reasons this fight was put together, because the fans are asking for it and the fans know this is going to be a great fight.”
Puerto Rico’s Cotto (37-4, 30 KOs), though 32 and diminished physically from so many grueling fights, still should be a considerable favorite over Rodriguez. Cotto-Rodriguez does, however, figure to emerge as a satisfying fight for action-craving fans.
“Two years ago, Delvin Rodriguez went into another fight,” said Joe DeGuardia, whose company, Star Boxing, promotes Rodriguez. “[It was] not as big as it’s going to be here, but it was live on ESPN, it was live in New York City, and throngs of Polish fans came out to support Pawel Wolak, the man he was fighting.
“And I can tell you that, although they wanted to see Pawel Wolak win, much like I know a lot of people want to see Miguel Cotto win, the one thing people left that fight with was the fact that it was an unbelievable fight, the ‘Fight of the Year.’ People are still talking about that fight today. It was a war. One thing I’m looking forward to on Oct. 5 is the fact that taking the two styles that are here, Delvin Rodriguez and Miguel Cotto, on Oct. 5 I firmly believe you’re going to see a war, a great fight.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.