Delvin Rodriguez of the Dominican Republic will have a great opportunity to enter the world boxing elite when he faces four-time world champion Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico in a scheduled 12-round bout Saturday at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla.
For Rodriguez (28-6-3, 16 KOs), this will be an opportunity to get back in the race for title contention. He lost the two previous times he fought for a title, against Isaac Hlatshwayo in 2008 and Austin Trout in 2012.
A victory over Cotto (37-4, 30 KOs) could bring bigger purses and another title shot in the junior middleweight division.
Here are five keys to victory for Rodriguez against Cotto:
Height and reach constitute a natural difference that will favor Rodríguez, and he will have to take maximum advantage if he wants to win. Using his jab permanently, moving to the sides to avoid the frontal attack, and throwing straight hands and overhand rights from the angles will be his best bets to achieve victory.
Use the judges
Even though nothing can be ruled out, it is difficult to imagine that this fight will end by stoppage. If we take into account that Cotto could be the more aggressive fighter on Saturday, Rodriguez will have to close every round strongly and release the heavy weaponry in the final seconds. This could be essential for Rodriguez's chances if the fight goes to the judges.
Don't forget what brought you here
Rodriguez will be facing a boxing legend who has prepared himself consciously and who has one of the best trainers in the world (Freddie Roach), aside from the support of the entire live audience. In the face of such pressure, Rodriguez will have to assume the same attitude he had in two very emotional battles against Pawel Wolak: concentration, confidence and lots of courage
Copy and paste
0Trout's strategy for beating Cotto was to keep him at bay in the first half of the fight and then increase the intensity of his punches. Rodriguez can use the same tactic. Jabs, strong punches to the head, and accurate responses in the counterattack will be his tools. That's how Trout was able to hurt Cotto and ultimately grab a comfortable and convincing victory.
For Rodriguez, this is the great chance he was clamoring for. Beating a fighter of Cotto's class would mean everything for Rodriguez's career. Aside from retiring his opponent from boxing, a victory would open the door to bigger and better purses and top-name opponents. That should be plenty of motivation for Rodriguez.