The return to the ring of former USBA Welterweight Champion and world title challenger Delvin Rodriguez (28-8-4 16 KOs/Danbury, CT) after a year-long hiatus is just one of the storylines of tonight’s (Saturday, July 23) Slugfest at the Sun stellar boxing card presented by Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing card at Mohegan Sun Arena.
His foe in the 10-round junior middleweight contest Shawn Cameron (10-1 5 KOs) has fought much tougher battles than the ring wars as a veteran of the Iraq war.
Here’s what the 33-year-old native of Brooklyn, NY, has to say:
Military Training = Toughness
“I’m happy that I had the training, because boxing takes a lot of mental toughness. If I didn’t have the military experience, and I wasn’t used to adversity, I would have quit (boxing) a long time ago. A lot of people that I started with didn’t make it, because it’s more than just fighting, it takes a lot. You have to really love the sport and want to be a part of it.”
Brooklyn Boy has Warrior Mentality
“Yeah there’s a warrior mentality. Just growing up in Brooklyn, we didn’t have much, so I’ve always had the ability to adapt and make the most of the situation, and the military experience has really refined that.”
Transition from Soldier to Athletes
“It was pretty tough to transition. You see these guys on TV, but it’s not something that was natural, not something I grew up doing. It’s still a learning process, but I go in every day and try to master my craft, watch boxers, and so on. I know my identity and I know what to expect in a fight. It’s the same mindset.”
Army Training Developed Adaptability in Ring
“The toughest part of being in the army was having to adapt to all of the environments and every different situation. In the beginning, making that transition into army life, I cried the first day. On the first day, I broke down and wrote my mom a letter apologizing for all the stuff I did. When they break you down, mentally and physically, you really learn what you can withstand. A lot of stuff in boxing is mental. One day, if I’m tired, who cares, I’ve still got to do it. A lot of the hardest stuff is mental, and I learned that from the army. It’s a mindset, I’ve got a mission, and I need to get it completed.”
What inspires you in the ring
“I fight for so many things. I can’t even pick one, it’s so funny. I started boxing in 2008, I had no idea what to expect. Making the transition from amateur to professional… now that I’m a pro, I know what it takes, what inspires me most, you know, I’ve seen a lot of big time guys that come in, they train, they get a couple world titles, and then they get comfortable and relax. Before you know it, they suffer and they’re on a down slope. They didn’t take advantage of what they had while they had it. While I’m doing this, I’m doing it to the best of my ability. I have this opportunity, there’s no way I’m going to let it slip away. These things don’t happen every day, and I’m going to get it done.”
More on Slugfest at the Sun
Rodriguez, who last fought in June 2015, challenged Erislandy Lara for the WBA World Jr. Middleweight title that night, dropping a 12-round decision to the champion. Delvin is 5-1 during his career in the Uncasville ring.
“At this point in my career I wanted to figure out the details on how to finish career,” said the Danbury native. “But I stayed in training because it’s great exercise and part of my life. I want to try to get a couple of wins and get back into the ratings.
“I’m back with my original trainer, Lou Fusco, who gave me a great foundation to start me off, with an aggressive style and strong foundation.”
Rodriguez has fought a who’s who over the course of his long career including such elite boxers asMiguel Cotto, the aforementioned Lara, and Austin Trout, but may be best remembered for his scintillating battle with Pawel Wolak on July 15, 2011, which garnered “Fight of the Year” award.
Rodriguez has challenged for the world championship on three different occasions and feels he still has something left to prove taking on the hungry and tough, Shawn Cameron.
Cameron, who has just 11 fights under his belt, sees this as the opportunity he has been waiting for. Cameron served two tours of duty in Iraq and knows a win over a well-known contender like Delvin Rodriguez will do wonders for his career.
“Once again Delvin Rodriguez returns to familiar settings, The Mohegan Sun, where he has fought many times,” says DeGuardia. “Delvin knows at this point of his career he cannot afford any slip ups and is taking on a dangerous, younger opponent in Shawn Cameron who knows a win over a name like Delvin will land him bigger fights. I expect another exciting fight which is the norm for Delvin and I’m very happy to be back at The Sun”.
First bell is at 7:30 PM.
Tickets are $150.00, $95.00 & $45.00 and $30.00 and are on sale now at the Mohegan Sun Box Office and through Ticketmaster. Ticketmaster customers may log on to ticketmaster.com or call Ticketmaster’s national toll free Charge By Phone number 1.800.745.3000.