Dan Rafael: David Rodriguez

Main Events signs pair

November, 6, 2013
Heavyweight David Rodriguez and light heavyweight Ilshat "The Sheriff" Khusnulgatin have both signed promotional contracts with Main Events, the company announced.

Rodriguez (36-0, 34 KOs), 36, of El Paso, Texas, is 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds and has built a tremendous record, although he has faced extremely weak opposition. Rodriguez has not fought since late 2011 because he was attacked and stabbed in the face outside a Scottsdale, Ariz., pizza restaurant on Dec. 30, 2011.

Rodriguez is lucky to be alive. He needed 369 stitches to close his wounds and nearly had his jugular vein cut. He has a large scar that runs down the side of his face, from his ear to his chin. He has recovered from the stabbing but missed more time when he suffered a knee injury getting ready for a fight in the summer of 2012.

“Through God, I was given a second chance at life, and through Main Events, I was given a second chance at a career,” Rodriguez said. “I'm deeply humbled and grateful for the opportunity. I finally feel like I'm in good hands and the sky is the limit.”

Rodriguez, who is with adviser Luis DeCubas Jr. and manager Rick Pineda, is scheduled to fight on Main Events’ Dec. 14 undercard, but not in a televised bout.

"David has made it clear that his intention is to step up in 2014 and take on everyone at the top of the heavyweight division,” Main Events promoter Kathy Duva said. “David has the personality, the looks and the punch to be a big star. It will be Main Events' job to give him the opportunities necessary for him to reach his goal of becoming the heavyweight champion of the world.”

Khusnulgatin (11-0, 6 KOs), 23, has fought mainly in his native Russia but has had three fights in the United States.

"These are exciting times in the light heavyweight division and for fighters from Eastern Europe,” Duva said. “Ilshat makes another great addition to our light heavyweight lineup at Main Events. At 23, he is the youngest fighter at Main Events, and we look forward to watching him develop.”

Main Events also promotes light heavyweight titlist Sergey Kovalev, who shares manager Egis Klimas with Khusnulgatin. Former world titleholder John David Jackson trains Khusnulgatin.

Glad to see Glazkov, not vs. Scott

January, 10, 2013
Heavyweight prospect Vyacheslav "Czar" Glazkov (14-0, 10 KOs), a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist from Ukraine, got tremendous exposure in his last fight when he made Tor Hamer quit after four rounds in the opening bout of the return of boxing to NBC on Dec. 22.

Glazkov will look to build on that solid performance when he headlines the Feb. 23 edition of NBC Sports Net’s “Fight Night” series.

The downside, however, is that Glazkov, 28, has been matched with 32-year-old Malik Scott (35-0, 12 KOs), who has a sterling record but has built it against 35 nobodies and put more people to sleep than Ambien. I’ve been hard on Scott through the years. I admit it. I hung the nickname “80-72” on him because so many of his fights -- against overmatched opponents -- went the distance and he won by shutout rather than even remotely try to press the action. It’s a real shame, too, because Scott has the size and the skills but has never shown an ounce of fire in the ring. Even when in total control, he refuses to try to stop his opponent.

After more than a three-year-layoff, Scott returned last February and made a halfway decent fight (by his low standards, anyway) in an -- you guessed it -- 80-72 decision against Kendrick Releford on Showtime Extreme. I tried to give him another chance, but then, two fights later, Scott absolutely stunk the joint out again in a lame eighth-round TKO win against Bowie Tupou (who injured his arm, which caused the end of the fight) in September on the Andre Ward-Chad Dawson undercard. The fight was so bad, the crowd was booing before the first round was over. I watched the whole fight at ringside. I’ll never get that half hour of my life back.

So I feel for Main Events matchmaker Jolene Mizzone. She did not want to make Glazkov-Scott. She tried hard to make a more fan-friendly match. She told me she offered the fight to 11 different heavyweights before having no other choice but to take Scott. Those other guys did not want to face Glazkov or were not happy with the money or both. Heavyweights such as Magomed Abdusalamov, Travis Kauffman, Joe Hanks, David Rodriguez and Franklin Lawrence all turned it down.

So now we’re stuck with Glazkov-Scott. Maybe, for once, Scott will fight with a shred of passion. He doesn’t deserve it, but Scott is going to be on national TV. If he isn’t going to fight with passion then, when will he ever?

Whatever he does, I’m not worried because I refuse to watch the fight live. I’ll DVR it, watch the Showtime card that is on opposite “Fight Night” and then find out the result of Glazkov-Scott before speeding through it. I’ve watched too many terrible Scott fights to be suckered again.