Q&A: Rodriguez says Cotto will be ‘easier’ than Wolak
During an interview in August, junior middleweight contender Austin Trout called Saturday’s 154-pound fight between Miguel Cotto and Delvin Rodriguez in Orlando, Fla., “a toss-up.”
Trout is the last man to have vanquished Cotto and Rodriguez, both by unanimous decision, before falling the same way to Canelo Alvarez in April.
“I would say that Rodriguez is awkward, but I guess Cotto has had more success. So it’s sort of a toss-up to me. I’m tempted to go with Cotto, but Rodriguez has been on a streak,” said Trout.
Cotto (37-4, 30 knockouts), who turns 33 on Oct. 29, also lost by unanimous decision against Floyd Mayweather Jr. prior to facing Trout. His last victory was in December of 2011, a 10th-round stoppage of Antonio Margarito.
A 33-year-old resident of Danbury, Conn., born in the Dominican Republic, Rodriguez (28-6-3, 16 KOs) has won two straight by knockout since falling to Trout. He knocked out previously unbeaten George Tahdooahnippah in the sixth round, and Freddy Hernandez in the eighth.
Rodriguez also fought a fight-of-the-year candidate brawl with Pawel Wolak that ended in a draw, then won the rematch by unanimous decision, in 2011.
He spoke to RingTV.com concerning the Cotto fight, which will be broadcast on HBO:
RingTV.com: Can you gain anything from the comparisons between your fight with Trout and Cotto’s figth with Trout?
Delvin Rodriguez: No, I don’t think so. Austin Trout is a totally different fight and Cotto is a totally different fighter. Miguel Cotto is a fighter who is going to come to me more.
I’m sure that I’m not going to have to look for Cotto, unless I hurt him. Once you see Cotto backing up against me, that would be different, if I hurt him. But I see this fight with Cotto as a totally different fight from the Austin Trout.
RingTV.com: Can you shed any light on your approach to this fight?
DR: I think that the way to handle this is to try to keep Miguel Cotto on the outside when he tries to pressure me. Austin Trout did a good job of that, you know?
It’s the same thing that Mayweather did to Miguel Cotto, at least for the first half of the fight. He kept him on the outside and then, it’s a totally different ballgame … and there are different ways to do that.
RingTV.com: Although you are the older fighter by just a bit, do you feel that you or Cotto have endured the most damage in terms of wear and tear in the ring?
DR: Definitely him. Definitely. This guy’s been in some action that can really take a lot out of a fighter. This guy has been beat up pretty bad — twice, I believe. Thank God, I’ve never been beat up like that.
Not even close to something like that. Each fight that I’ve lost had been a close decision or a bad decision. Nothing to the point where I was beat up or cut badly or anything like that.
RingTV.com: Do you believe that Cotto’s past facial damage will be a factor in this fight, and, perhaps, your strategy?
DR: Well, yeah. Cotto has had some really, really tough, bloody fights. It’s going to happen. It’s going to definitely happen. Like I’ve said, Cotto’s been in some tough fights with a lot of cuts.
As soon as I hit him good, he’s going to cut. He cuts very easily from what I’ve seen in his past fights, and that’s something that I’m good at. I catch you with a couple of good punches, and then you can definitely get cut.
RingTV.com: Given Cotto’s past, and Cotto’s popularity in Florida, do you expect the referee to stop the fight on cuts?
DR: I’m not sure that there is a chance that he’ll get cut and the referee stops the fight that way. I’m just putting my strategy together and I’ll go out and box, and if that happens, then it happens.
But I know that it’s going to happen. He’s definitely going to get cut, you know, but I’m not just depending on stopping the fight by cuts.
RingTV.com: Do you see any potential similarities between your fights with Wolak and this one?
DR: To be honest, this fight, I think I’m going to make it easier than I did in the second fight with Pawel Wolak. Pawel Wolak didn’t have the same experience that Miguel Cotto has.
That’s the difference. Miguel Cotto is on a totally different level, but I think that Cotto is going to try to put on as much pressure as Pawel Wolak did.
But Cotto’s going to give me more time to think, and more room to counter and to throw combinations. So I think that it’s going to be a little bit different.
But I think that it’s going to be easier for me to give him different angles and to throw different combinations and to be more active. I’m going to have more time to be effective with my combinations and punches.
RingTV.com: Are you concerned about your ability to win a decision?
DR: Well, I know that I’m fighting him back in his second home over here in Florida. I’m definitely concerned about winning a decision.
When you’re a fighter, and when you go to somebody’s back yard, you’ve always got to be concerned. You always have that in the back of your mind, and that’s the reason why I’ve got to win this very convincingly.
I’ve got to really put it to him and do it very convincingly to the point where the judges will see it, and where everybody can see it. So I know that I have to beat him really good, and that’s what we have planned.
I’m in good shape, we’re ready to go, and we’re ready to respond to whatever he has on Saturday. Even if there is the slightest chance that I can make it a KO, I need to just go for it.
Photos by Chris Farina-Top Rank, Al Bello-Getty Images
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]