Story by Rick Scharmberg
The “good guys” will get their chance on ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights”, this Friday, at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. The IBF’s #15-ranked contender, Shamone “The Truth” Alvarez (20-1, 11 KOs), of Atlantic City, New Jersey will face IBF No. 4 ranked contender Delvin Rodriguez (23-2-2, 14 KOs), of Danbury, Ct. in a 12-round IBF welterweight title eliminator.
The winner of the intriguing crossroads bout will become the IBF’s No. 2 contender, and will earn an eventual shot at world champion Joshua Clottey. In addition, Rodriguez will be defending his USBA welterweight title.
“Delvin is a cool cat,” states Alvarez. “I never heard anybody talk bad about him. He is a regular cat like me, not flamboyant. It’ll be two pretty boys in there!”
Shamone Alvarez and Delvin Rodriguez were on a collision course, so to speak, for a while now. As Shamone tells it, “We were both promoted together by Northeast Promotions at one point. Talk of a fight with Delvin came up, but it fell through. Then we both left, and now his promoter [Star Boxing] is my co-promoter. When the discussion came up again, with Joe [DeGuardia], I knew it was going to happen. I guess the time is now.”
Along with the #2-ranking and the USBA title, a win will put Alvarez in line for a crack at Joshua Clottey’s IBF title. Clottey is a fighter who is very familiar to Alvarez. Back on December 20, 2007, Clottey took a decision over Alvarez at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Shamone started strong, but Clottey proved to be the stronger fighter that night.
“I had some flaws when I fought Joshua,” said Alvarez. “I said to myself that he’s a man and I’m a man, and I pushed myself extra hard in training. My whole family had strep throat, and I felt it after the fight. I worked too hard and wore myself down. I learned from that, and catch myself when I start to over-work.”
Instead of taking an easy fight after facing Clottey, Alvarez bounced back with a nice win over 1996 Olympic bronze medalist Terrance “The Heat” Cauthen.
Asked why he took on a slick fighter like Cauthen, Alvarez responded, “I didn’t think taking a step down after losing to Joshua [Clottey] would do me any justice. Taking on a .500 fighter would not have helped me. It’s not like I look at a fighter as being tough. I look at how his strengths compare with my strengths, and that’s my gauge.”
Shamone feels that his strengths match up well with those of Delvin Rodriguez.
“He has a good jab and a good right hand. I’m left-handed, so that is an advantage. I think we match up pretty good. We both can box and we both can fight. It will be an interesting fight,” he said.
Alvarez still trains with Arnold Robbins at the Atlantic City PAL, out of which he won several Pennsylvania Golden Gloves titles as an amateur, but he got some special training in for this fight.
“I was out in Texas with Kermit Cintron when he was getting ready to fight that dude [Sergio] Martinez. I was out there for two weeks and a couple of days. We also got Patrick Majewski for sparring. He is a guy from our gym, 9-0, a 6-foot-one, 160-pound guy, as well the other guys in the gym looking to get work, from amateur to pro,” said Shamone.
Outside of the ring, Alvarez is a social worker by trade, and works with disadvantaged youth. He also does stagehand work, putting together the ring for boxing events, and setting the stage for musical acts throughout Atlantic City.
“I’m a man of many hustles,” he laughs. “I hope to get married to my fiancé this year, that’s the plan.”
Blessed with fast hands and excellent technique, Shamone downplays his fistic style. “I do what I have to do to adjust, to swim and not get wet,” he said. “I can do both, box and fight, but I don’t claim to be a knockout artist. I like to think that I can do it all on a high scale. I am good with everything, but I can improve in some areas, like my footwork, or sitting down on a body shot. I’m an average guy, looking to make some noise in ’09!”
Alvarez is in the rare and enviable position of having two major promotional firms as his co-promoters, Seminole Warriors Boxing and Star Boxing. Both firms have a wealth of quality fighters in and around the welterweight division to keep their fighters busy.
“The situation is cool. It’s great, and I have no complaints,” said the fighter. “They are doing what they have to do, and I am thankful for it. I’m getting older, but now all of my fights have meaning. I am very happy with both of them.”
He may be 32 years of age, but Shamone speaks of his future with the enthusiasm that surely spreads to the kids he mentors.
“My goal is to be a De La Hoya, a Hopkins, a Pacquiao, Floyd, and Ali. In all seriousness, I want to be remembered as somebody who came from a typical home life – I want to be recognized as coming from a regular home and making something out of my life.”