Dan Rafael: Delvin Rodriguez

Chavez draws a healthy audience

March, 4, 2014
Mar 4

Inside the ring, former middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.’s fights are almost always highly entertaining. And outside the ring, there’s always drama, too. That has made him one of boxing’s biggest attractions, and his television viewership figures are a testament to that.

Chavez’s lopsided but action-packed decision win against Bryan Vera in their super middleweight rematch on Saturday night at the Alamodome in San Antonio drew another strong audience for HBO.

The fight drew 1.390 million viewers and peaked at 1.531 million viewers for the live airing, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The fight drew only slightly less than Chavez-Vera I in September, which generated an audience of 1.416 million viewers and was the second-most watched fight cable fight of 2013 (behind only the 1.555 million viewers drawn by Miguel Cotto’s third-round knockout of Delvin Rodriguez on Oct. 5).

Besides the strong performance from Chavez-Vera II, the opening fight between Orlando Salido and two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko, going for a featherweight world title in only his second pro fight, drew 1.017 million viewers -- a 30 percent increase over Salido’s previous appearance on HBO, when he lost to Mikey Garcia in January 2013.

Lomachenko lost a split decision to Salido (who was stripped of his belt for missing weight) but his quest to win a belt in his second fight drew a lot of media attention, which almost surely helped generate interest in the fight.

Chavez is likely to be back on HBO in July -- opponent to be determined. With a victory, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum intends to bring him back in the fall on HBO PPV with middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin as the central target, although super middleweight titlist Carl Froch (should he beat George Groves in their May 31 rematch) and former light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal are other possibilities, according to Arum.

Cotto offered deal for Canelo fight

November, 6, 2013
Miguel CottoRicardo Ramirez Buxeda/Orlando Sentinel/Getty ImagesFormer champion Miguel Cotto was offered a lucrative deal to fight Canelo Alvarez in 2014.
Former three-division titleholder Miguel Cotto has a big decision to make -- pursue a fight there for the taking against middleweight champion Sergio Martinez in June on HBO PPV or take an eight-figure offer to fight fellow former junior middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez on Showtime PPV March 8.

That is what Cotto must decide after he and his team met with Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer on Tuesday in Los Angles.

“I met with Miguel and his team, and we had a very good meeting and I made him an offer in the eight figures, well over $10 million, to fight Canelo in March,” Schaefer told ESPN.com. “We had a really nice meeting and talked about a bunch of different things. We also talked about the fighters that our companies promote together.”

I met with Miguel and his team, and we had a very good meeting and I made him an offer in the eight figures, well over $10 million, to fight Canelo in March.

-- Richard Schaefer
Cotto, one of boxing’s biggest stars, is in the enviable position of being a free agent with no ties to a promoter or network, meaning he can weigh offers for both fights. After he knocked out Delvin Rodriguez in the third round Oct. 5 to rebound from his loss last year to Floyd Mayweather Jr., the fight that immediately came up was an attractive showdown with Martinez. Cotto would like to try to become the first Puerto Rican to win a world title in four weight classes.

Cotto went with Top Rank and HBO for the fight against Rodriguez. He has fought most of his career on HBO and with Top Rank, and he has a close relationship with Top Rank president Todd duBoef.

But Cotto also has fought on Showtime and has a good relationship with Golden Boy, which promoted two of his last three fights.

If he wants to go for purely money, the Alvarez fight is almost certainly Cotto’s best bet. But given how many tens of millions Cotto has earned, it would not be a shock to see such a proud warrior leave some money on the table for the opportunity to win the real middleweight title against Martinez, who says he wants the fight with Cotto.

As for the prospects of a Cotto fight with Alvarez -- who is coming off a loss to Mayweather in September in the all-time highest grossing pay-per-view event -- Schaefer said he has a deal in place with Alvarez.

“Canelo and I have worked out a deal structure for the fight. He’s on board,” Schaefer said. “His No. 1 priority is to get a deal done with Cotto. So that’s why we sat down and made a very aggressive and attractive offer to Miguel for the fight. We’d be happy to do it as a one-fight deal with no strings attached, no options, or we’re happy to do a longer-range plan that could lead to Miguel facing the other guys we have. It’s totally up to Miguel.

"But I know one other fight that Miguel is interested in, a potential rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr. I haven’t discussed it with Floyd, but I am sure Floyd would be up for that as well if Miguel beat Canelo.”

Cotto lost a competitive decision to Mayweather in an exciting fight, which did a huge 1.5 million buys on pay-per-view.

Gaby Penagaricano, Cotto’s attorney and close adviser, who was at the meeting with Schaefer, could not be reached for comment.

Schaefer said Cotto was interested in his proposal.

“He realizes that, from a financial point of view, a fight with Canelo is clearly the biggest fight on the table,” Schaefer said. “I don’t take anything away from Sergio Martinez, who is a great champion. But if you ask anyone what’s a bigger fight, a Puerto Rican star against an Argentine star or a Puerto Rican against a Mexican star, we would all agree that Canelo against Cotto is a much bigger fight. There’s also a certain risk attached to the Martinez fight because he is injured now [coming off knee surgery], so who knows if he will be ready to fight [in June]?”

Schaefer said if Cotto wanted to fight some other fighter who works with Golden Boy, that would be OK too.

“If Miguel would prefer to fight a [junior middleweight titlist] Carlos Molina, who we have options on, or the Erislandy Lara-Austin Trout winner, or Alfredo Angulo or [middleweight titlist] Peter Quillin, we could do those too,” Schaefer said. “There are so many different options out there.

“They said they’ll get back to me. It’s not like we have to make a decision this week, but it was a very good meeting.”

Golovkin showing star power

November, 6, 2013

Middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin is blossoming from cult status to mainstream boxing star in front of our eyes, if his fight Saturday night was any indication.

Golovkin stormed past Curtis Stevens to retain his title for the ninth time with a stellar performance in the eighth-round knockout victory -- his 15th KO in a row -- and people clearly liked what they saw, based on the viewership figures for the HBO-televised bout from the Theater at Madison Square Garden.

The broadcast attracted 1.410 million viewers (and peaked at 1.566 million), according to Nielsen Media Research. That is a 29 percent increase over Golovkin’s previous bout on June 29, also on HBO, which drew 1.097 million viewers.

The victory against Stevens ranks as the third-most watched cable fight of 2013, all three of which were HBO fights. Golovkin-Stevens trails only fights involving far more recognizable stars -- Miguel Cotto’s third-round knockout of Delvin Rodriguez on Oct. 5 had an average audience of 1.555 million viewers, and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.’s controversial decision win against Bryan Vera on Sept. 28 drew 1.416 million viewers.

Golovkin is due to return Feb. 1 against an opponent to be determined in Monte Carlo. Even though K2 Promotions’ Tom Loeffler, Golovkin’s promoter, and HBO do not have a deal for the fight at this point, it would seem that based on Golovkin’s rocketing star, the network would (and should) make an effort to show his next fight. There are few fighters in boxing today more exciting and dominating than Golovkin (28-0, 25 KOs).

Martinez wants to give Cotto shot

October, 8, 2013

After former three-division champion Miguel Cotto’s third-round wipeout of Delvin Rodriguez on Saturday night at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., Cotto expressed interest in challenging middleweight champion Sergio Martinez.

Cotto’s new trainer, Hall of Famer Freddie Roach, also said it’s a fight he wants for Cotto, who would like to become the first Puerto Rican fighter to win world titles in four weight classes.

That would be a major accomplishment, and a Martinez-Cotto fight would be a major pay-per-view event. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum expressed interest in staging the fight, if they can make a deal, on Puerto Rican Parade weekend in New York in early June -- a date on which Cotto has fought regularly. Arum said he would like to put on the fight at MetLife Stadium, the New York Giants' and Jets' home in East Rutherford, N.J., a few miles outside New York City.

So Team Cotto likes the fight, but what about Martinez and his handlers? Count him in, adviser Sampson Lewkowicz told ESPN.com on Monday. He said Martinez definitely wants the fight.

“I won’t negotiate the fight through the press, that’s not good,” he said. “So the only thing is that Sergio will accept the fight because he wants to fight the best and Miguel Cotto is one of the best. There is no question about it, and it would be a competitive fight. We’d love it. We have a Plan B, but Plan A is definitely Cotto.”

The timing of having the fight in June works well for Martinez, Lewkowicz said. Martinez is recovering from knee surgery and is expected to be able to fight by April, but he would happily wait until June, Lewkowicz said.

The reason, Lewkowicz said, is Martinez has a “personal vendetta” against Cotto.

“He feels in the past that he didn’t gain the respect of Cotto, and he never forgot one of his actions a few years ago,” Lewkowicz said.

According to Lewkowicz, Cotto and Martinez were both at an ESPN studio in Mexico at the same time two or three years ago, and Martinez was excited to meet Cotto. But when they were together, Lewkowicz said, “Cotto walked away from him. He didn’t even shake his hand, and Sergio felt insulted. So he wants to fight him. I believe it would be a great fight.”

If the sides want the fight, Lewkowicz said, “We can do this negotiation in one hour over a coffee. We don’t need a lunch to make this fight if everybody does it right.”

As for the weight, Lewkowicz said Martinez would be willing to come down to fight Cotto at a catchweight as low as 158 pounds.

“Freddie Roach, who I respect a lot, said [after the Rodriguez fight] that he wanted it to be a full 160 pounds, so the weight will not be an issue,” Lewkowicz said. “I believe Roach is right in that it should be 160, but if it’s 159 or 158 we have no problem with that, either.”

Lewkowicz said that Martinez would also be happy to have the fight in New York, where Cotto is a massive fan favorite because of the large Puerto Rican population.

“Definitely, yes, in New York City,” Lewkowicz said. “He would love it to be there. Martinez loves New York. I love New York, my grandchild lives there. We are ready. [Martinez promoter] Lou DiBella and me, we are waiting for the call.”

Roach likes idea of Cotto-Sergio

October, 7, 2013

ORLANDO, Fla. -- After Miguel Cotto blew out Delvin Rodriguez in the third round of their junior middleweight fight on Saturday night at the Amway Center, talk immediately turned to what might be next for Cotto, who shook off a two-fight losing streak, looked great doing it in his first fight with trainer Freddie Roach and set himself up for another megafight.

The three obvious candidates for Cotto's next fight are a rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr. (who intends to fight in May), a showdown with former junior middleweight champ Canelo Alvarez in a classic Mexico-versus-Puerto Rico rivalry fight or a fight with middleweight champion Sergio Martinez.

Cotto sounded open to each of them, but did say the prospect of becoming the first Puerto Rican to win titles in four weight classes was appealing to him, which would mean fighting Martinez.

It's also a fight that Roach said he really likes.

"I know his style pretty well, and I think I know how to beat Sergio Martinez," Roach said at the news conference after Saturday's fight.

Roach, of course, was on the losing end 13 months ago when his fighter, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., was routed by Martinez in a lopsided decision, although Chavez did nearly score a 12th-round knockout.

"He's a great athlete," Roach said of Martinez, who is still recovering from knee surgery and unlikely to fight until at least the spring. "He's very fast, of course. But the thing is, he does have some flaws in his armor. I think we'd take advantage of them. That would be a fight I would love to get ready for. I think I have the right guy to do it this time."

Roach added that he isn't a fan of catchweight fights and that if the fight did happen, he would prefer to see it at 160 pounds. He said he would like to see Cotto get the chance to make Puerto Rican boxing history as its first four-division champion.

Pacquiao-Cotto II? No chance

October, 5, 2013

ORLANDO, Fla. -- If Miguel Cotto defeats Delvin Rodriguez on Saturday night at the Amway Center in their junior middleweight bout, Cotto will have ended a two-fight losing streak and put himself back in the picture for another mega fight.

Potential fights like a showdown with Canelo Alvarez or rematches with Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Manny Pacquiao -- all of which would be huge pay-per-view events -- get mentioned often.

But the one with the least chance to happen is a rematch with Pacquiao, who stopped Cotto in the 12th round to win a welterweight title in 2009.

There are legitimate reasons why it almost certainly will never happen again. They have become friends, they are in different weight classes and they are now both trained by Freddie Roach, who will be working with Cotto for the first time in the Rodriguez fight.

“I talked to Manny about it a little bit because Manny asked me if he could watch Miguel work out, and I said ‘of course you can.’ So Manny came to watch,” Roach said of one his training sessions with Cotto. “They shook hands and they are friends. Manny and Miguel will never fight each other [again]. They have had their fight and it’s over. Miguel is a 154-pounder and Manny is 147. They are friends now, and once Manny becomes friends with someone he will never fight them. They won’t fight, and I guarantee you that.”

Cotto, who made weight comfortably for the Rodriguez fight, said he is never going back to welterweight, which would rule out a Pacquiao rematch, even if they weren’t pals and didn’t share Roach.

“I don’t look forward to fighting anyone at 147. I don’t think Manny is looking forward to fighting anyone at 154,” Cotto said. “I think we both have our own careers and that’s the way it will stay.”

Rodriguez: Cotto 'a huge fight'

October, 4, 2013

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Delvin Rodriguez has had his big opportunities, but has been unable to cash in on either of his two world title shots.

In 2009, Rodriguez, a fan favorite for his numerous action-packed fights, lost a heartbreaking split decision on his home turf in Connecticut to South Africa’s Isaac Hlatshwayo for a vacant welterweight belt. In 2012, Austin Trout shut him down in a dominant decision win in a junior middleweight title bout.

But although those were world title fights, the biggest opportunity of Rodriguez’s up-and-down 14-year career comes Saturday night (HBO, 9:45 ET/PT) against Puerto Rican superstar and former three-division champion Miguel Cotto at the Amway Center in Orlando.

After the loss to Trout, Rodriguez, 33, a native of the Dominican Republic, rebounded with a pair of impressive knockout victories, taking out "Comanche Boy" George Tahdooahnippah in six rounds and former world title challenger Freddy Hernandez in eight.

That set him up for the shot at Cotto (37-4, 30 KOs), 32, who is looking to rebound from back-to-back losses to Trout and Floyd Mayweather Jr.

"The two wins Delvin had earlier this year along with the wealth of world-class experience he's fought over his outstanding career has truly prepared him for this opportunity to fight Miguel Cotto," Star Boxing promoter Joe DeGuardia said. "This will be his sixth fight in the junior middleweight division and he's very comfortable at 154. He's prepared very well for Miguel Cotto and I'm confident he will put on a terrific performance."

Because of Cotto's stature, Rodriguez (28-6-3, 16 KOs) considers this the biggest fight of his career, even though there will be no belt to wrap around his waist if he wins.

"I fought for the title twice but it's nothing compared to this," Rodriguez said. "I'm motivated for this fight, very, very motivated. It's a huge fight, the biggest fight of my career, even though it's not a title fight. I'm facing a guy whose only defeats are against the best. I've been wanting this fight for a while.

"I will bring everything I have into the ring. I am going to surprise people with my ability and people will finally see the best of me. It's a dream for me to get to this level, to be on HBO, after so many years of hard work. I've had downfalls, gotten bad decisions, had management and promotional problems, but I finally have this opportunity and I am enjoying everything about this. For me, the fight is going to be like going to the party on Saturday. It'll be like going to perform, going to the big dance."

Rodriguez is getting a chance to fight a guy whose undercard he was once on, for his 2011 rematch victory against Pawel Wolak.

"I've got nothing but respect for Miguel," he said. "Our paths have crossed a number of times over the years and he's always been a gentleman. He's a certain Hall of Famer, who earned everything he's gotten. Nothing was handed to him. It's the perfect test for me."

Rodriguez, whose four-inch height advantage over Cotto is very noticeable, has paid attention to Cotto's fights and believes he has the right plan to send him to a third consecutive loss.

"I got to box him," Rodriguez said. “The main thing is I got to beat him to the punch. I'm faster than him, I have a longer reach, I'm taller than him. As soon as he tries to develop his combinations, I just need to beat him to the punch and stop him in the tracks. I got to use my height and reach and boxing ability.

"Against Trout, I made a big mistake. I was waiting too much. But Trout never hurt me and I was in great shape. This fight, Cotto will put pressure on me and it will make it easier to get inside, keep a jab in his face. I think with Cotto I will use basic stuff, straight punches, jabs. You will see a lot of surprised faces in the stands when he gets hit with my jab and combinations and right hands."

Klitschko-Povetkin on U.S. TV?

August, 2, 2013
Although the deal isn't signed yet, HBO is in the process of finalizing a deal to acquire American broadcast rights for heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko's defense against Alexander Povetkin on Oct. 5 in Moscow. The network would televise the fight live in the afternoon and then replay it in prime time along with live coverage of that night's Miguel Cotto-Delvin Rodriguez card from Orlando, Fla. Klitschko hasn't appeared on HBO in his past four fights, all of which were broadcast on Epix. Klitschko's last appearance on HBO was his one-sided domination of David Haye in a 2011 unification bout.

• Longtime Nevada judge Duane Ford resigned his position earlier this month, according to the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Ford is leaving ringside to take over as president of the North American Boxing Federation, a regional affiliate of the WBC. Ford judged hundreds of world title fights but drew heavy (and warranted) criticism for his scoring of the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley Jr. fight in June 2012. He was one of the two judges, along with C.J. Ross, to submit a 115-113 score in favor of Bradley, setting off wide outrage at the split decision (when most believed Pacquiao had clearly won). Ford opened himself up for even more criticism after the fight when he remarked that Bradley had given Pacquiao "a boxing lesson."

• Promising middleweight Gilberto "Zurdo" Ramirez Sanchez (25-0, 20 KOs), a 22-year-old from Mexico, will make his American debut on Aug. 24 (UniMas) in Glendale, Calif., Top Rank announced. He will face one-time prospect Julio Cesar Garcia (46-8, 39 KOs) in a 10-rounder. If Sanchez beats Garcia, he would then be likely to face Italy's Domenico Spada (37-4, 19 KOs) in a title eliminator. Also on the card, blue-chip junior featherweight prospect Jessie Magdaleno (15-0, 11 KOs), 21, will face stepping-stone opponent Jose Luis Araiza (31-8-1, 22 KOs) in an eight-rounder.

Cotto-Rodriguez likely in Orlando

July, 11, 2013
Miguel CottoTom Casino/ShowtimeMiguel Cotto's return to the ring on Oct. 5 will likely take place in Orlando, Fla., at the Amway Center.
The paperwork is being finalized to bring the Miguel Cotto fight on Oct. 5 (HBO) to the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., Top Rank chairman Bob Arum told ESPN.com on Wednesday.

Arum had also been considering staging the fight at Marlins Stadium in Miami. Arum said either place would have been a good site, but he likes Orlando, where there is a sizable Puerto Rican population. It's also where Cotto has trained. Cotto's opponent for the junior middleweight fight isn't yet signed, but it likely will be two-time world title challenger Delvin Rodriguez.

The fight would be the most significant in that region since February 2007, when Chad Dawson won a light heavyweight world title for the first time by outpointing Tomasz Adamek at the Silver Spurs Arena in the Orlando suburb of Kissimmee. That card also featured two other world title bouts: Julio Diaz winning a lightweight belt against Jesus Chavez and Cory Spinks defending a junior middleweight title against Rodney Jones.

• The formal announcement of the world title doubleheader at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. on Aug. 24 (Showtime) was scheduled for Thursday at a Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles. Featherweight titlist Abner Mares will defend against former two-division titlist Jhonny Gonzalez in the main event, and junior featherweight titlist Victor Terrazas will face mandatory challenger (and former bantamweight titleholder) Leo Santa Cruz in the co-feature.

• Two televised undercard bouts for Showtime's Aug. 9 tripleheader at the Fantasy Springs resort in Indio, Calif., are set, according to Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez: junior middleweight Jermall Charlo (14-0, 10 KOs) will take on Antwone Smith (23-4-1, 12 KO) and junior lightweight Francisco Vargas (16-0-1, 13 KOs) will meet Brandon Bennett (15-0, 7 KOs). Heavyweight prospect Deontay Wilder (28-0, 28 KOs), a 2008 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist, will headline against faded former titleholder Sergei Liakhovich (25-5, 16 KOs).

Mayweather talks about jail term

April, 3, 2013
A little of this and a little of that from the boxing world:

• As part of the lead-up to the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Robert Guerrero welterweight title fight on May 4 (Showtime PPV) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the documentary “30 Days In May” debuts on Wednesday night (Showtime, 10 ET/PT). The one-hour film chronicles the days between Mayweather’s May 5, 2012, win over Miguel Cotto and the June 1 start of a three-month jail term for domestic abuse at the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas. The film concludes on Aug. 3, Mayweather’s self-described “best day of my life,” when he was released early for good behavior after serving two months behind bars. The documentary features the only interviews Mayweather has conducted (so far) about his incarceration, which he calls a “life-changing experience.”

• Middleweight champ Sergio Martinez (50-2-2, 28 KOs) and challenger Martin Murray (25-0-1, 11 KOs) of England, who meet April 27 (HBO) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Martinez’s home country, were both inside the limit of what they were allowed to weigh for their 30-day weight check. They were each 170 pounds a month before their 160-pound championship fight.

• "Friday Night Fights” fan favorite Delvin Rodriguez (27-6-3, 15 KOs) returns to the ESPN2 series on May 24 at the Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville, Conn., where Connecticut resident Rodriguez is a good draw. He’ll face fellow former welterweight title challenger Freddy Hernandez (30-4, 20 KOs) in a scheduled 10-round junior middleweight bout.

• The epic Mike Alvarado-Brandon Rios rematch at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on Saturday night was another hit for HBO, which said that, according to Nielsen Media Research, it drew 1.2 million viewers for the live airing. That was a 45 percent increase in viewership from the first Rios-Alvarado fight, which was also a barn-burner, but on an undercard. Saturday’s undercard fight between unknown junior welterweight prospect Terrence Crawford and Breidis Prescott drew 845,000 viewers, according to the network.

• Promoter Don King, who won the purse bid for the third fight between cruiserweight titlist Marco Huck (35-2-1, 25 KOs) and Ola Afolabi (19-2-4, 9 KOs) despite not handling either fighter, told the camps that the fight would take place May 11 in Germany. However, King, who bid a surprising $1.5 million, still does not have a specific venue lined up or a television deal in place The fighters are both in training camp, but their handlers remain skeptical that the fight will come off. Without a TV deal, King would likely default on the bid.

Delvin Rodriguez back on FNF

December, 22, 2012
RodriguezCarlos Suarez Jr./Mpsportimages.comDelvin Rodriguez will put down the mike and get back in the "Friday Night Fights" ring on Feb. 15.
Delvin Rodriguez, a longtime staple of ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights" and the ringside analyst on the ESPN Deportes broadcast of the series, will be out from behind the microphone and back in the ring on the Feb. 15 show.

Rodriguez (26-6-3, 14 KOs) will face George "Comanche Boy" Tahdooahnippah at a catchweight of 157 pounds at the Mohegan Sun resort in Uncasville, Conn.

The Danbury, Conn., resident will be the crowd favorite against Oklahoma's Tahdooahnippah (31-0-1, 23 KOs), who will be taking a step up in competition at age 34. Tahdooahnippah will also be coming down in weight. He usually fights at super middleweight or middleweight.

"For Comanche Boy, a fight against Rodriguez represents a terrific opportunity," said Joe DeGuardia, promoter for Star Boxing. "This will be the first time he has fought on the East Coast and his first main event on ESPN, so this is a chance for him to truly impress. He's an undefeated Native American-Indian and a very colorful and aggressive fighter."

Rodriguez fought only once in 2012, a poor performance in a lopsided decision loss against junior middleweight titlist Austin Trout on June 2. In 2011, Rodriguez fought Pawel Wolak to a draw in one of the best FNF fights in history and beat him easily by decision in the rematch.

Angulo to return, not vs. Rodriguez

November, 20, 2012
Alfredo AnguloAP Photo/Mark J. TerrillExpect to see all-action Alfredo Angulo, left, back in action soon, just not against Delvin Rodriguez.
All-action Mexican junior middleweight Alfredo Angulo is trying to make up for lost time by fighting for the second time in two months, but it won't be against Delvin Rodriguez, despite the rumors circulating through the boxing industry.

Angulo returned on Nov. 10 after a one-year layoff, mainly because he spent seven months in a California detention center jammed up with immigration issues, and drilled Raul Casarez in 56 seconds on a Showtime undercard.

The 30-year-old Angulo (21-2, 18 KOs) is next slated to fight on the undercard of Showtime's Amir Khan-Carlos Molina card on Dec. 15 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. But Golden Boy has had a tough time finding an opponent on relatively short notice.

On Tuesday night, Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez reached out to Joe DeGuardia's Star Boxing hoping to book Delvin Rodriguez as the opponent.

Rodriguez (26-6-3, 14 KOs), 32, a staple on ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights" and a guy usually in a good scrap, was interested, but not on only 3 weeks notice.

It's hard to blame Rodriguez, who is coming off a lopsided decision loss to Austin Trout in a junior middleweight title fight on June 2 on Showtime, for turning it down given how tough of an assignment Angulo is for somebody with a full training camp. Secondary, but also important to the decision, was that the offer was for short money.

"We would love the fight if we had a little more notice, but for this type of fight at this point in his career Delvin knows that it's vital that he gives himself the best possible chance to win," said Star Boxing matchmaker Ron Katz. "We're willing to do the fight with proper notice, not 3-week notice. But we're thankful they even offered us the opportunity and I truly wish we could have done it because I like the fight, Devlin likes the fight, Joe likes the fight and [Rodriguez's manager] A.J. Galante likes the fight."

Geale-Golovkin a no-go (for now)

November, 2, 2012
Don't feel bad for Daniel Geale, who was stripped by the WBA of his middleweight "super" title at the organization's annual convention this week in Jakarta, Indonesia. If anything, feel good about it because it means the WBA can, for the time being at least, suck only one sanctioning fee out of the 160-pound division because it now is down to only one titleholder, Gennady Golovkin.

Geale and Felix Sturm went into their unification bout in September knowing full well that the winner was obligated to fight Golovkin, at the time the "regular" titlist, in his next fight.

Sturm already had put off the fight multiple times, and the Golovkin camp wasn't going to put up with any more delays. So when Geale won the belt to go along with his IBF title, he knew the deal: Fight Golovkin next, or bye-bye, WBA strap.

Now, I don't blame Geale one iota for electing to defend his IBF belt against Anthony Mundine, which is the fight on the board for him in January. Both hail from Australia, and it's a big-deal rematch there because it was Mundine who handed Geale his only loss, in 2009.

No, Geale is not ducking Golovkin, as some have suggested. It's simply a matter of economics. At the moment, fighting Mundine is far more lucrative than fighting Golovkin.

"Whilst I enjoyed unifying titles and being crowned the WBA super champion, it has become ultimately clear to me that it is impossible to keep all the belts," Geale said. "I am aware of my mandatory obligations. However, I felt that the challenge from Anthony Mundine was an opportunity to settle the score once and for all, and I want to thank the IBF for granting me the exception that creates a fight which will please all Australian boxing fans. As I proudly remain the IBF world champion, I wish the WBA and whoever they crown the same short-lived pleasure, as I will be coming to reclaim what is rightfully mine."

Geale-Golovkin was due by Dec. 31, and with a January fight against Mundine set, that fight wasn't going to happen before the deadline. So now Golovkin is the WBA's only titleholder at 160 pounds, for now, anyway.

"We don't blame Geale and his team for taking a safer fight," said K2 promoter Tom Loeffler, who promotes Golovkin. "However, they knew the obligations they would have prior to the Sturm fight. Geale is still IBF champion, and if he continues to win, this might be a great unification fight in the future."

Loeffler's position on Geale taking the safer fight is disingenuous. He knows well that Geale (28-1, 25 KOs) will make a lot more money by facing Mundine (44-4, 26 KOs) instead of Golovkin. If Golovkin (24-0, 21 KOs) were in the same position, Loeffler would have him take the more lucrative fight, too, and he knows it.

One thing Loeffler is right about, however, is that a Geale-Golovkin fight down the road would be a fine match.

While Geale and Mundine will tangle on a January date to be determined, Golovkin likely will be back in action Jan. 19 on HBO at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York.

K2 already has the building reserved and the date from the New York State Athletic Commission, from what I am told.

No opponent is set, but two names are under discussion: super middleweight contenders Thomas Oosthuizen (20-0-1, 13 KOs) and Edwin Rodriguez (22-0, 15 KOs), both of whom are promoted by Lou DiBella. South Africa's Oosthuizen, a 6-foot-4 handful of a southpaw, would have to get through a Nov. 10 fight against Fulgencio Zuniga to stay in the running.

If Golovkin faces either of them, they would meet at a catchweight of about 165 pounds.

Ring Tones: Trout-Rodriguez

May, 24, 2012

Dan Rafael has written extensively about the June 2 Showtime quadrupleheader headlined by Antonio Tarver and Lateef Kayode, which appears rock-solid from top to bottom. Yet of the four televised fights, he's most intrigued by the Austin Trout-Delvin Rodriguez junior middleweight title tilt -- and not only because he believes it may be the most crowd-pleasing fight on the card. For more on Rafael's thoughts on Trout-Rodriguez, click on the video above.

Quantity and quality on June 2 show

April, 24, 2012
Quadruple Gene Blevins/Hoganphotos/Golden Boy PromotionsAmong Showtime cards featuring at least four televised fights, the June 2 show may rival them all.

New Showtime Sports chief Stephen Espinoza, a boxing fan since childhood, is now in a position to program the network's boxing events. And he's serving up a rare -- and interesting -- four-fight card June 2 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. It looks like there's a little bit for everyone:

• Former light heavyweight champ (and current Showtime analyst) Antonio Tarver (29-6, 20 KOs) will face Nigerian slugger Lateef Kayode (18-0, 14 KOs) in a cruiserweight bout.

• Former undisputed junior middleweight champ Winky Wright (51-5-1, 25 KOs), coming off a three-year layoff, will meet "Kid Chocolate" Peter Quillin (26-0, 20 KOs) at middleweight.

• Junior middleweight titlist Austin Trout (24-0,14 KOs) will defend against Delvin Rodriguez (26-5-3, 14 KOs).

• Bantamweights Leo Santa Cruz (19-0-1, 11 KOs) and Vusi Malinga (20-3, 12 KOs), of South Africa, will meet for a vacant title.

Amazingly, Showtime was able to get six promoters to collaborate on the card: Golden Boy, Gary Shaw, A.T. Entertainment (Tarver's company), Greg Cohen, Joe DeGuardia and Branco Milenkovic. And not only are these four solid matchups, an hour of preliminary bouts will be aired on Showtime Extreme.

It's only the third time that Showtime, which has been doing fights since 1986, has put on a card with at least four TV bouts, but the June 2 card is superior to the others, in my view.

In 1997, Don King promoted a five-fight telecast in Nashville that featured four world title fights (mostly mismatches) -- Terry Norris-Nick Rupa, Felix Trinidad-Kevin Lueshing, Henry Akinwande-Scott Welch and Khalid Rahilou-Frankie Randall -- plus Dierdre Gogarty-Debra Stroman in a women's bout.

In 2001, Main Events did a four-fight show at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn., featuring Zab Judah-Reggie Green in a junior welterweight title bout, plus three prospects in four- or six-rounders: Juan Diaz, Rocky Juarez and Francisco Bojado.

"We are very proud to bring this unique night of boxing to Showtime -- eight world-class fighters, four fights, two world title fights," Espinoza said. "We have legends, rising stars, youth versus experience and world title fights. There are no easy fights on this card."

Everybody assembled Monday at the JW Marriott L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles to formally announce the card. Here's what some involved (Rodriguez and Malinga were not present) had to say:

"When you try to constructively critique someone [Tarver has served as color commentator for Kayode fights], you hope they go back to the gym and get better. I wasn't on his bandwagon. I saw loopholes in his game, and it was my job to tell him that. He didn't want to take heed to that, and now I need to show him. I'm telling Lateef that his dream is going to come crumbling down.

"I'm standing here today to tell Lateef Kayode and everybody he's got coming to support him on June 2 that his dreams are going to come tumbling down. It's a big difference when you are in that ring by yourself and facing the heat and fire I'm going to bring, and all [trainer] Freddie Roach can do is give you water. It's a whole new ballgame. Welcome to the big time, brother."

"I will knock you out. I will beat the crap out of you. I want to be a world champion and I want to fight world champions. I want to prove to all of you that I am better than him, that I am stronger than him. When Tarver commented on me on Showtime, he never said anything good. I never disrespected him, and I said, 'Champ, what have I done to you?' I'm going to prove myself and prove that I am ready for this man, that I am ready for the best. He has the name, but he doesn't have the heart. He doesn't have the power. The way he fights, I can get this guy.

"He doesn't have crap. Tarver is done. I never disrespected anyone in my life, but on June 2, this guy is done."

"I'm not coming back for the money. I've got money and I've got friends who have money, so it's good there. The reason I'm coming back is to make a statement. I could have fought a tuneup, but boxing is about accomplishments, and to me, that means winning another world championship.

"My last fight was a bad one for me. I probably should have taken a fight before it, but I was never retired. I could have come back a year and a half ago, but the kind of deal and opportunity we were looking for just wasn't there. It is now.

"This guy [Quillin] is hungry and he wants to win a championship. I love his enthusiasm, so I'm looking forward to fighting him. If he thinks I'm making a mistake fighting him after being off, if he thinks I'm not what I used to be, now's his chance to show it. Let's do it. I'm ready for a fight."

"I'm just getting started. I'm still climbing the ladder, so there's no way I overlook any opponent, especially a fighter that is going to wind up in the Hall of Fame. I'm going to win this fight. I'm in fighting shape. I'm fired up. I'm ready right now to take advantage of this great opportunity.

"I don't fight for my family. I don't fight for my friends. Kid Chocolate fights for himself. If you've never been to the planet Pluto, I'm going to take you there. Pluto is where all the stars are, so if you want to go to Pluto, come out and support me."

"I'm super excited and I know my fight with Delvin will be great. Trust me, Delvin comes to fight, so this is going to be a good, hard fight for a while, but I'm working in the gym on making it easier.

"I know I'm not a household name in boxing. That's why I'm so appreciative of this opportunity and looking forward to taking full advantage of it. I'm looking to fight any of the other titleholders or the biggest names out there."

Santa Cruz
"I'm from Lincoln Heights [Calif.], so for me to be fighting in my own backyard in my very first world title fight is beyond my wildest dreams. I've been waiting for something like this, and now my opportunity of a lifetime is here.

"I know Malinga is an aggressive fighter who's waited a long time to fight for the IBF title, but I've waited my whole life. I can't wait for June 2 to show what I can do on the biggest stage at the Home Depot on Showtime."