Story by Matt Richardson
Crowd pleasing welterweight contender Delvin Rodriguez will return to the ring this Friday at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut when he takes on Shamone Alvarez in the main event of ESPN 2’s Friday Night Fights. Rodriguez (23-2-2, 14 KOs) has been featured in some of the networks more exciting fights and said he planned on continuing to do so this week.
“If you see my record I’ve been fighting good people,” Rodriguez told Fightnews on Sunday. “I don’t fight any bums. I’m always ready, getting ready for a tough fight, somebody who’s up there.”
Rodriguez said he had been training in Pennsylvania for the past seven weeks in what he claimed is the best camp he has had to date. “Training was good,” he said. “I’ve been sparring with heavier guys. It’s good to get in shape and concentrate. Physically I feel strong, stronger than ever. I feel strong, confident and I’m ready to go.”
Both Rodriguez and Alvarez have had recent disappointments in the last year or so. Alvarez lost to Joshua Clottey while Rodriguez had a draw against Isaac Hlatshwayo this past November. “It was a close fight. I was very disappointed but I believe I won the fight,” Rodriguez said of his fight against Hlatshwayo. “I even knocked him down but yes, I believe I won the fight.”
Rodriguez said he was also glad to be able to move on from the darkest chapter of his career; his fight with Oscar Diaz last summer. Diaz was recently released from the hospital after suffering career ending injuries in their fight. “It was great news,” an obviously relieved Rodriguez said. “It was definitely great news to hear he got out of the hospital.” Rodriguez said he had learned to cope and understand in the months after their fight. “I kind of got to the point where I had to understand that it’s a really dangerous sport. I’ve got to hope to God it doesn’t happen to me. It was much more difficult in the beginning.”
But now, Rodriguez said things are different. “I believe this year is the year. It’s my time now,” he said. “I’ll be number two ranked in the IBF. We’ll be right there in the position for a title. I’m ready for who ever. Berto, Clottey, I’m down for whatever. I think I’m ready for that step now. I’m trying to just concentrate and take one fight at a time and hopefully I’ll get the chance this year.”