DELVIN RODRIGUEZ says his October 5 fight with future Hall of Famer and former three-time champion Miguel Cotto is “now or never” for him, and the warrior who was born in The Dominican Republic but now lives is Connecticut is leaving nothing to chance in training camp.
At 28-6-3 (16) and just two fights removed from his near shut-out loss to the classy Austin Trout (who of course also holds a decision win over Cotto), Rodriguez knows this big chance will never come again.
Motivated by this apparent last chance, as well as by his desire to reach the very top, Rodriguez is nevertheless keeping cool. Delvin came across as a somewhat laidback individual when speaking with Boxing News about his upcoming bout. Rodriguez is definitely a fighter who prefers to let his fists do the talking… or maybe he was weary from a recent press conference, having been asked endless questions!
Rodriguez says he is preparing for the very best version of Miguel Cotto
“Oh, I’m definitely looking for the very best of Miguel Cotto,” Rodriguez says enthusiastically.
“He may have lost his last two fights, but look at who it was he lost to: two of the best fighters out there [Floyd Mayweather and Austin Trout]. You can’t take anything away from Miguel Cotto, he’s a warrior, a two or three division champion, and he has the hunger back. Cotto wants to show the people he’s back and is still a great fighter.”
As motivated as he is himself, Rodriguez feels he may hold an advantage over Cotto in this department.
“Well, this is my biggest opportunity and I know I have to put everything I have into this fight. I don’t know quite how motivated he is, but I know I am massively motivated. It’s now or never for me and I’m going to make it now. I do think Cotto wants to come back for the people, to prove a point, but this is my opportunity.”
A pro since 1999 and having been operating at world level since the late 2000s, Rodriguez says he has had his eye on Cotto for some time.
“I knew some day I would fight him,” he explains quietly.
“We tried for a while to get this fight made and now it’s finally here. I did always have an idea we would face off. This fight is my opportunity to get to the very top.”
Rodriguez, who gave us that unforgettable war with Pawel Wolak in July of 2011, is relishing the idea of going to war with the Puerto Rican legend.
“I think the only chance he has in this fight is to come at me. That’s the only chance he has. I am expecting a war, a very exciting fight for the fans. I don’t want to be on the inside, I have to keep him at a good range, and attack him in a smart way. I won’t be right on the inside, I have to give myself room to work. I won’t be running, either. I have to keep him in the middle of the ring. I know he’ll come at me and I won’t be going anywhere.”
Delvin has fought for “world” titles before, dropping a split decision to Isaac Hlatshwayo for the vacant IBF welterweight strap in 2009 and losing widely to Trout for the WBA light-middleweight belt last June. The loss to Trout still hurts.
“That was very disappointing. I was so disappointed at myself. I was in good shape but in the fight I didn’t use any of that hard work. I didn’t go for it. I made mistakes but I know what they are and I’ve been correcting them in my two fights since - I took it to both guys [stopping both the previously unbeaten George Tahdooahnippah and, in his last outing in May, Freddy Hernandez]. I think I proved a lot in those two fights, that I have a lot left to give. Cotto tried to get inside on Trout and he couldn’t do it; Cotto got countered a lot when he fought Trout. Trout is good at what he does, he’s a good boxer. This will be a totally different fight though. I hit a lot harder than Trout and I don’t run as much as he does. This will be a great fight for the fans.”
Cotto’s fans are vocal and passionate and there is a large Puerto Rican community in Orlando Florida where the fight will take place. Rodriguez says he is not intimidated at this prospect, nor is he concerned at being the betting underdog.
“I’ll definitely have fans cheering for me. I’ve just been down in Orlando for a press duty and I have a lot of fans there. Obviously there are a lot of Puerto Rican people in Orlando and they will be at the fight, but I’ll bring fans too. I’m not concerned at all about being the underdog or anything like that. I’m just grateful for this opportunity. I’m going to work harder than I ever have before to make sure I win this.”
In closing, Rodriguez predicts a stoppage win over Cotto.
“All I have to say is, I have 12-rounds to score the knockout. I want a KO, I don’t want to risk this going to the judges. I’m not going to tell you what round [I’ll get the KO in], just that I won’t leave it to the judges. I think I’m the fresher fighter, I’ve not been through the beatings he has been through. This is the biggest fight of my career, I’ve already started training and I’m going to put everything I have into winning.”