Exclusive Interview With Delvin Rodriguez - ďIím Happy I Was Able To Give The Fans The Type Of Fight They DeserveĒ

By James Slater: As surely all fans know (hardcore fans anyway), light-middleweight contenders Delvin Rodriguez and Pawel Wolak recently gave us a genuine FOTY candidate on ESPN Friday Night Fights. The two warriors fought their hearts out for ten spellbinding rounds, and the final result of a draw seemed fair enough in that there was no way either guy could be called a loser.

But 31-year-old Rodriguez, 25-5-3(14) feels he did enough to win the battle and he is now hoping to land a return - but, as he says, for a lot more money. And both guys surely deserve a massive payday after what they went through in the name of entertainment!

Kindly taking the time to speak with me on the subject of the classic he and Wolak gave us on July 15th, along with other things, Delvin had the following things to say today.

James Slater: Itís so great to be able to speak with you, Delvin - especially after that great, great fight! Everyone is talking about you and Pawel Wolak right now.

Delvin Rodriguez: Thank you. It was a great fight and Iím glad. Iíd had a year off and Iím happy I was able to give the people, the fans, the type of fight they enjoy and deserve.

J.S: Straight to business: is a rematch your top priority now, or have you other avenues you can go down, as hot as you are?

D.R: Weíre pushing for it; itís what the fans want to see and it would be another great night for boxing. I have no idea really, what he [Wolak] wants, but it seems he is looking at going in a different direction; that he doesnít want it.

J.S: I take it youíve seen the fight now at least once - on tape?

D.R: Oh, yeah - many times! Itís been on ESPN Classic already. The more I see it, the more I know I beat him.

J.S: As you know, two judges had it 95-95 and the other had you winning by 97-93. Do you feel you won by that big a margin, or do you think you won by a point or two?

D.R: No, I won by more than a point or two. I gave him three rounds, with maybe one even. I landed the cleaner, harder punches - and every time I landed you could see it on his face. I came out of the fight [with my face] clean and he was all busted up. Iím really proud that I came back after a whole year off, and Iím also proud of how I proved I am a top contender. I showed I deserve to fight for a title. I want the big names now.

J.S: You agree with us that the fight with Wolak is FOTY so far?

D.R: Oh, yes! I also work for ESPN, and they told me the fight has had the biggest ratings so far this year. That means a lot to me also, and makes me proud.

J.S: Was this fight the toughest of your pro career? Pawel Wolak said it was his toughest ever.

D.R: It was the toughest in a way, but that was because of his constantly coming forward - putting pressure on. Iíve been hit more in fights and Iíve been punished more. But he [Wolak] keeps on coming.

J.S: This was you first fight up at 154 as you know. Do you feel better at 154?

D.R: Better, but so much better! I feel stronger and faster at 154. I donít have to kill myself [to make weight] any more - I can eat breakfast the day of the weigh-in. This makes so much difference. You have to have your body at 100-percent in the ring. I feel like a totally different fighter today.

J.S: Do you feel you won the fight because you were more versatile; and you had faster hands?

D.R: Definitely. I landed more punches, I had faster hands. All he did was get close and throw pitty-pat punches. He wasnít as effective as me at any time.

J.S: Did he ever hurt you, even with his body attack, which looked awesome?

D.R: Not at all! I always tell my corner in a fight, if Iíve felt the other guyís punches or if I was hurt. Never in this fight was I hurt.

J.S: Iíve got to ask you about Wolakís horrific eye injury. Where Iím from, England, I think theyíd have stopped the fight with that eye. Do you think they should have stopped it on July 15th?

D.R: Let me tell you: I looked at the betting in Vegas and I was 7/1 against. If that was my eye, they definitely wouldíve stopped it! They shouldíve stopped it, by the 9th-round at the latest. He couldnít see. But I give credit to Wolak - heís very tough and heís a nice person. I respect him.

J.S: Youíve had some close decision losses in the past - to Isaac Hlatshwayo, Rafal Jackiewicz and Ashley Theopane - were they fair results in your mind?

D.R: I try not to even think about that. Iíve been robbed so many times! I have only one real loss on my career; the rest, theyíre so incredible. But Iím a whole different fighter now and Iím looking ahead to the future. Iím not looking, or even thinking about the past and those bad decisions any more. Iíve never had anybody protecting me, but Iím back now!

J.S: When you say there is one legitimate loss youĎve had, are you referring to the 8th-round TKO loss to Jesse Feliciano in 2007?

D.R: Correct.

J.S: What went wrong in that fight? It was a huge upset at the time.

D.R: The whole training went wrong. You know somethingís wrong when after the 5th-round your legs have gone. I had dried out and I wasnít 100-percent, and you just have to be. Feliciano was another tough guy who kept coming forward, but in this fight [with Wolak] I was never tired. I am a different fighter today.

J.S: Iím not sure what you and Pawel got paid for your great fight, but it canít have been as much as you both deservedÖ.

D.R: Very low.

J.S: Both of you should have had a million dollars at least!

D.R: Thatís why I want to step up. I want to be fighting on HBO, where I deserve to be. Iíve put in the hard work already. So I want to make the return happen - on HBO, itís no longer an ESPN fight - and then I want to go in with the top names. A fight like that [July 15th] shouldnít be paid chump change and the T.V people and the promoters should see that.

J.S: No doubt, you deserve a massive pay day - both of you. What would mean more to you, Delvin; a return with Wolak or another world title shot (Delvin fought Hlatshwayo for the IBF welterweight belt in August of 2009)? Or do you want both?

D.R: I tell you, Iíd love to have both. The fans want to see a rematch and boxing needs this type of fight. And I love the sport. But of course, itís a business also, and with us [boxers] all the work is for that world title - thatís when the money rains in. I feel Iíve got at least four years left and Iím going to fight hard.

J.S: Itís been an honour to speak with you, Delvin. The fight you gave us three weeks ago makes me proud to be a boxing fan!

D.R: Okay, thanks.

Article posted on 06.08.2011

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