"I don't want to just win this fight; I want to win this fight impressively and give the fans a lot to talk about. I want to start fighting the way I used to fight on ESPN. That's the way I want to fight, and then going forward, after I win this fight impressively like I'm talking about, I want to go after the guys in the top 5 because I want to try to get my rankings back up to where they were and take it from there, man. By the end of this year, I want to be looking at another title," stated jr. middleweight contender Delvin Rodriguez, who talked about his upcoming February 15 return to the ring to face George Tahdooahnippah. Check out what else he had to say!
PC: How is everything going my man?
DR: Everything is good. We have almost a week in already in camp and everything is looking good and I'm really excited. I'm ready to go, man; it's time to get back in the ring.
PC: ESPN is a network that treats you well and you seem to be a favorite of theirs. How does it feel to be back on that network?
DR: It's great. Its great national exposure and I always gotta thank ESPN for not only having me work for them, but I'm one of the favorites and they always seem happy to put me on the show. I'm very excited and happy myself to try and give an exciting fight.
PC: Fighting on ESPN the past years paid off and springboarded you into a pay-per-view slot in the rematch with Wolak on Cotto/Margarito 2, and then of course a Showtime fight with Austin Trout. I'm sure the goal for this year is to have this showcase put you back on the big stage.
DR: That's definitely the plan, you know. I'm very confident that we will be back and better than ever. It's boxing and this division is very hot right now, so the plan is to fight this fight, he's an undefeated guy, and get right back to the top.
PC: George Tahdooahnippah is an undefeated guy with over 30 fights. After the Trout fight, was this the plan, to come back against a guy with a great record and not take any soft touches?
DR: Yeah! We had to. If you look back at my career, I never fought anybody that was considered a tune-up fight. They might call it a tune-up fight, but every time I fought somebody, they had a good record and was a good fighter and a tough guy. I'm treating this guy the same way. I'm training hard like I'm fighting for a championship. I'm sure he is training hard for me and I'm sure he's gonna come in and try to take my head off. I will be ready. I will definitely be ready for the 15th.
PC: Speaking with your manager, A.J. Galante, he said you had to get your business taken care of outside of the ring before you got back in the ring. Now that you have secured a long-term deal with Star Boxing, how much of a relief is it to just be able to fight now?
DR: It's good. The fans it's not visual to the fans' eyes, but trust me, behind the sport, there is a business that you have to make sure is straight as a fighter. Your mind gotta be clean when you step into that ring, especially when you facing guys at this level that I'm facing now. That's a lot of weight off of my back. It's great to be motivated and be able to go and just train. It makes a big difference; all the difference in the world.
PC: What did you take away from the Austin Trout loss since that was the last time we saw you?
DR: Well, I was very disappointed in myself. I trained very hard, man. When I get prepared for fights, I train very hard and for that fight, I was in very good shape, but you know what? I didn't leave it in the ring, man. I didn't take risks and I was very disappointed in myself. I was very down on myself for not taking risks. He is a very awkward lefty and he plays a lot of defense and I didn't press enough. I was in great shape. I could have pressed more. I gotta say I was a little afraid of getting caught with something stupid, you know? I don't want to be like that. You gotta take risks. Boxing is about taking risks, especially when you are fighting a guy for a world champion. I'm disappointed in myself, but I learned from that. I am still learning from my mistakes and I will improve even more this year. In 2013, I'm very confident and every fight that I go into, I'm going to leave it all in the ring. All of the hard work that I do in the gym is going to show in the ring.
PC: Have you been able to find a lot of footage on your opponent?
DR: Man, look, to be honest with you, the only thing I know about him is his first name. I can't even pronounce his last name (laughing). They sent me some DVDs that were 5 years old, but come on 5 years old, they are going to be a whole different fighter, so I didn't even bother looking at the DVDs. I asked the promoter to send me some newer DVDs and then I will check them out. All I know about him is he has fought his whole career at 160, so he is going to be a strong guy at 154. But I will be prepared, man.
PC: The 154-pound division is definitely heating up. What's the short-term and long-term goals for you in the division?
DR: The short-term goal right now is I gotta deal with this guy on the 15th of February and I gotta impress the boxing world against him. I don't want to just win this fight; I want to win this fight impressively and give the fans a lot to talk about. I want to start fighting the way I used to fight on ESPN. That's the way I want to fight, and then going forward, after I win this fight impressively like I'm talking about, I want to go after the guys in the top 5 because I want to try to get my rankings back up to where they were and take it from there, man. By the end of this year, I want to be looking at another title.
PC: What has been the biggest change in you since the Trout fight?
DR: You just learn. I'm 32 now and I have got everything in my life the hard way. I came up the hard way with the wrong manager and promotion all kinds of stuff holding me back. So I learned the hard way, but that's no longer a concern. I have fought good fighters, great fighters, strong fighter, boxers, just all kinds of fighters now, so you know I have a lot of experience. And its means a lot to get the experience that I have.
PC: I wish you the best on February 15th. I'm sure it's going to be a great fight. Is there anything you want to add?
DR: That's it, man. Thank you so much. Like I said, February 15th, it's going to be an exciting fight because I know this guy is going to come to fight and try to knock me out and we are gonna fight each other. We are gonna collide in the middle of the ring and it's gonna be an exciting fight. It's gonna be the old Delvin Rodriguez that used to give ESPN exciting fights and that's how it's going to go down on the 15th. I ask all of my fans to tune in. If they can't make it to the casino, just tune in to ESPN!
[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrFighthype ]