This fight should get Delvin Jr. through four years of college and a win, a win would secure enough revenue to keep the kid going for a couple degrees beyond that.
Sounded to me on a Tuesday phoner like Delvin Rodriguez is planning on his son getting the best in degrees blood, sweat and tears money can by, judging by his conviction that he will get the best of Miguel Cotto on Oct. 5 at the Amway Center in Florida.
"I'm going for the kill, man," said the 33 year old Dominican born Connecticut resident. "I've started training already."
Rodriguez knew, basically, that he had a line on this, the best opportunity of a 14-year pro career, for about a month. He just kept fingers crossed that all the particulars would get hashed out and he'd get a chance to prove that his record is deceiving, that his 28-6-3 record isn't indicative of his true worth and talent. "I didn't want to get too excited," said the junior middleweight, who is managed by AJ Galante, on a two-fight win streak, which came after he was outboxed in a UD12 loss to Austin Trout.
Come Oct. 5, he wants to be the one who gets the love from the judges, by using his reach and his feet to keep Cotto at a safe distance, keep the Puerto Rican a step behind, have the fight at center ring, and off the ropes. "I have to use small pivots. I know he's a warrior, I can't take anything away from him, he's only lost to the best," he said. He said he knows he needs to have Cotto respect his power, not just move and score points, but land hard shots to remind Cotto of his pop. His lateral movement has to be sharp on Oct. 5th, and he will have to put combos together, and not wait for the receipt. "Cotto's effective when gets close to his opponent," he noted.
They've both lost to Trout, Rodriguez by an 26 point margin, and Cotto by 22 points. Hopes were high for Rodriguez that he'd have his elevation fight at the Home Depot Center on June 2, 2012, the scrap that would forever deliver him from the ESPN Friday Night Fights realm. Didn't happen that way, and he couldn't track and land on the agile mover Trout. Cotto, too, was a step late on Trout. This scrap, promoted by Cotto, Top Rank and Joe DeGuardia's Star Boxing, which will run on HBO, figures to have more trading, perhaps a bit less science to it, and a bit more scrappiness, than either tussle involving Trout.
"This fight will bring out the best in me," Rodriguez insisted to me. "You're going to see the best Delvin Rodriguez." If so, his protests that he's gotten screwed a few times by blind judges and some cruddy politics ring that much more true. If not, his record stands as a testament that he is what the record says he is--a guy who wins more than he loses but wasn't really able to move beyond out of the "B range" of boxers.
I gently probed to see if he ponders that he's reached he's ceiling, that he's mustered the best of what he has to offer and simply isn't able to summon anything more to get to the next tier. He didn't bite, not surprisingly. "Only I know me," he said. "I know all about my abilities. Miguel is one of the greatest in his division. This is the time for me to be really motivated, it's time for me to make it where I want to go. I've been looking for this fight my whole life."
You do realize, I told him, that if he beats the 32 1/2-year-old Cotto decisively, there will be the call for Cotto to retire.
He laughed, and said that Cotto's career choices are up to him. "That's on him," he said, sounding not displeased at the thought of being the man to force Cotto's exit. "My only thing is winning this fight."
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