Delvin Rodriguez talks about taking on the challenge of Miguel Cotto
By Ian Aldous: On October 5th, Delvin Rodriguez (28-6-3) looks to capitalize on the chance of a lifetime when he faces future hall-of-famer and multi-time former world champion, Miguel Cotto (37-4), at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. Cotto will be aiming to get back on track with a win while Rodriguez hopes to hijack the top of the light-middleweight rankings with a win of his own.
Just over a week ago, Delvin gave me some of his time to give his thoughts on what is potentially a career defining fight for him.
Throughout his career, Rodriguez has been in the ring with some decent names like Pawel Wolak and just last year in an unsuccessful world title challenge against Austin Trout (who then went on to beat Cotto). However this is undoubtedly the biggest and highest-profile fight that Rodriguez has seen himself in to date. “I have what it takes to beat this guy and we’ve been working hard for this opportunity, we finally get the opportunity and I’m gonna surprise the people. Some people might see that I’m just an opponent for him, but that’s not the case. So, come the 5th, I think a lot of people are gonna be surprised.” As expected, he’ll be going into the bout fully prepared for what lies ahead. “Preparations are going good, you know. It’s a tough fight coming up, so we are working very hard and we’ll be ready for the 5th.”
The previously mentioned fight with Trout was the second time that Delvin has fought for a world championship, the prior one being a split-decision defeat against Isaac Hlatshwayo for the vacant IBF welterweight title back in 2009. So, high-stake fights and pressure are nothing new for the 33 year-old veteran. “Oh yeah. Like you said, I’ve fought twice for the title but for me it just wasn’t a big deal like this fight. This is a fight that will give me recognition all over the world facing a guy like Miguel Cotto, that has fought all the best and has been at that top level for a long time. I have to say this is definitely the biggest fight of my career so far.”
Not only is the outcome vital for Cotto to stay relevant, and for Delvin to reach the pinnacle of his career, but it’s likely that the winner will earn themselves an immediate crack at a 154lbs world championship. “Oh yeah, there’s no doubt about that. A good win, beating Cotto in a very impressive way which I’m planning to do, that’s gonna get me right to the top level, Mayweather and Canelo. This is the reason a fight like this motivates me so much.” He continued “It was exciting, I started working out right away. To sign Cotto was big, I was very excited and motivated.”
Knowing what we all know about Miguel and his time in the sport, It would be relatively easy to expect him to comfortably beat an opponent the calibre of Rodriguez. Delvin certainly thinks that the media and fans are overlooking him. “Oh yeah, definitely. I know this is a fight to prove myself once again. I believe that’s what’s gonna happen, a lot of people gonna be surprised when they see the type of boxing I’m gonna give Miguel Cotto.” As far as tactics go, he has a good idea of what Cotto will bring to the table on October 5th. “I believe that he’s thinking he’s just gonna come in and try to pressure me on to the ropes and he’s gonna try to make me tired. That’s not gonna happen. We practise our movement and angles. It’s not gonna be easy for him to take me to the ropes.”
With Cotto currently on a two fight losing run, this presents an opportunity for Delvin to not only make a name for himself but ‘kill’ the career of a legend. It truly is a ‘win or bust’ situation for Miguel. “Yeah, I believe so, after I beat him I think he’s gonna concentrate on something else, not boxing. He’ll probably just give boxing up. I don’t see any other way for him to continue after I beat him.”
The rebuilding process following the defeat to Austin Trout saw Delvin take on an unknown quantity in George Tahdooahnippah. George was unbeaten (31-0-1) going into the fight and it was difficult to predict what might happen. Less than six rounds and a vicious beating later, Rodriguez was victorious. “He was an unbeaten guy. I saw some of his fights, I saw how he was very cocky and I also saw that he never fought anybody at my level. But this guy, once he runs into my punches, he’s gonna be very surprised and he’s not gonna know what to do because he’d never been at that level. He never fought anybody with my techniques. As soon as the first round after I hit him with a different combination, he didn’t know what to do. Tahdooahnippah was definitely not on my level, it’s just a fight that I took and he was making a big commotion being an undefeated fighter, but I’ll fight anybody that my promoter gives me. I think it was obvious that he was not on my level.” Rodriguez followed that fight with a hard fought TKO (due to a cut) win over Freddy Hernandez. At the time of the stoppage, ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas had Rodriguez trailing on his scorecard.
Promoted by Miguel Cotto Promotions and Top Rank, in association with Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing and Tecate, Cotto Vs. Rodriguez will be broadcast live on HBO on Saturday October 5th. Tickets are available from amwaycenter.com and ticketmaster.com