David Rodriguez: “Watch Out…I’m Coming”Written by Joseph Herron
On July 2nd, 2011, the big men were on the biggest stage in boxing once again.
In front of a huge crowd of about 60,000 screaming fight fans in Hamburg, Germany, universally recognized Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko (56-3, 49 KOs) fought and defeated former WBA title-holder David Haye (25-2, 23 KOs) of England, in what most have described as a very lack- luster and disappointing 12 round unanimous decision.
While most fight fans were waiting for a big heavyweight bout to deliver a much needed, aura boosting knock-out, the highly anticipated mega-fight never quite lived up to expectation and failed to capture the imagination of fans worldwide.
Undefeated Heavyweight contender David "El Nino" Rodriguez (35-0, 33 KOs) explains his theory of why this widely viewed bout failed to place heavyweight boxing back in the forefront of American sports.
"Although Wladimir Klitschko is a great fighter and a tremendous athlete, how do you fight a defensive fighter who seems to lack a willingness to fight? He's a very good defensive fighter and his fight plan is effective, but Wladimir Klitschko is a boring fighter," states the 33 year old El Paso, TX, native.
While David admits that the Heavyweight Champion is an effective fighter, Rodriguez believes that Klitschko's style is not the most aesthetically pleasing to watch and is ultimately bad for the heavyweight division.
"He's boring. He has a great jab, he knows how to survive and hold, but people don't want to see this. It's boring to watch (Wladimir) Klitschko fight," professes the undefeated heavyweight contender.
"I actually like to watch David Haye fight. He has a lot of skill and I actually thought he would knock out Klitschko. I was impressed with Haye going into to this fight, but watching him fight Klitschko was a snooze-fest."
"That right there is the problem I see with the heavyweight division."
"Klitschko deserves the respect that he's getting, but his style is just so boring," claims Rodriguez. "People like to watch fighters who are willing to put it all on the line when they fight. I'm not being critical about him winning, I'm just pointing out that there is no excitement during his fights and people want to see excitement when they watch boxing."
There is an age old adage in boxing which states, "As the heavyweight division goes, so goes the sport of boxing".
It's hard to argue with that logic when 4 out of the top 5 live gates in Nevada Boxing history are Heavyweight Main Events:
1) Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr., May 5, 2007 $19.0 million
2) Lennox Lewis vs. Evander Holyfield II, Nov. 13, 1999 $16.8 million
3) Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson II, June 28, 1997 $14.2 million
4) Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson I, Nov. 9, 1996 $14.1 million
5) Mike Tyson vs. Peter McNeeley, Aug. 19, 1995 $13.9 million
David Rodriguez feels that this concept is the key to boxing's revival in mainstream American sports.
"I truly believe that the heavyweight division carries boxing," proclaims the heavy-handed pugilist. "Fight fans want to see the big guys throw blows because they know that a bout will more than likely end in a knock-out. There's serious power in the Heavyweight division."
Although David feels that the Heavyweight division is the most important in boxing, he admits that he is a complete fan of the sweet science.
"I like it all," concedes Rodriguez. "I like to watch all divisions in boxing. I am a boxing fanatic and I have such a great appreciation for the sweet science."
"But, I know that the general public likes to see the bigger weight classes throw down. That's simply the way it's always been in boxing."
The undefeated heavyweight from El Paso, TX, believes that a big, natural heavyweight with knock-out power in both hands will make boxing a prominent sport in America once again.
Rodriguez also feels that the boxing public doesn't have to look any further than El Paso, TX, for the next great American heavyweight.
"When I knocked out Owen Beck with one short left hook in the third round, that was me kicking down the door," exclaims David Rodriguez. "That was me telling the world that I'm here."
"A lot of critics were wondering when I was finally going to take that step up in competition, and I think I did that when I fought Owen Beck," states Rodriguez. "No, I didn't like seeing him go down the way he did for that duration of time, but I think I took a step up and I passed the test with an A+."
Since his early years in the gym, David has always realized that he was a uniquely hard puncher.
"I can punch," states "El Nino". "This is something that my trainers and I have always known. I've starched guys with one punch in sparring sessions. This is nothing new to me. When I was 15 years old, I was knocking out grown men. I've always had a knack for it."
David Rodriguez truly believes that he has what it takes to become the next great American Heavyweight Champion, and feels that in time the truth will reveal itself.
"I am extremely fast for my size, and my power will devastate anyone who has a chin," claims the 33 year old fighter. "I don't care who they are. If they get hit by one of my shots, they're going out. I know this every time I get in the ring."
"I don't go into the ring looking for the knock-out, but I've come to expect it. I know once I hit them, they're gone."
The El Paso native feels that this is the primary reason why he can't land the "big name" fights and truly believes that he has become an avoided fighter by most of today's top heavyweights.
"With 35 wins, no losses, and 33 knock-outs, I just can't explain it," exclaims the Texas fighter. "I really can't explain it and I don't know what to say. I'm frustrated. How do I keep getting overlooked? I'm just going to keep on breaking down more doors until I land that big title fight."
"That's fine. Keep doing what you're doing," Rodriguez implores his competition. "You're only fueling my fire. I'm already an angry fighter in the ring. I'm calm and I'm calculated, but I'm angry inside. Just keep ignoring me. I'll keep busting down more doors."
"To me, this is my life...this is what I do," proclaims Rodriguez. "I think in the grand scheme of things, everything comes right on time, and if I'm meant to be Heavyweight Champion of the World, then it will come right on time. As long as I do everything I'm supposed to be doing, it will happen exactly when it's supposed to happen."
"I feel that I'm coming into my own right now," states the Texas resident. "I feel like I'm a veteran fighter with a lot of experience, yet like a new prospect in a lot of ways."
Many of David's critics have been vocal in pointing out that "El Nino's" resume isn't exactly a "who's who" among great heavyweights. Most of his detractors feel that this is the primary reason why he hasn't secured that top spot among American contenders.
Rodriguez feels that overly officious boxing critics are a specific reason for boxing's idle status in mainstream American sports; and given the current state of the NFL and the NBA, boxing media should be promoting the positive aspects of the sport and not dwelling on the negative.
"I feel that half of these critics are cowards and I don't take what they say seriously to be honest," candidly states "El Nino". "They've probably never laced up a glove, and if they did, they probably didn't go far anyway. So, to me it's like, whatever; say what you want."
"I know that in other sports, writers are always positively promoting these athletes in football and UFC, but they don't do that in boxing," states David Rodriguez. "Boxing is the sport that deserves that kind of positive reinforcement by the media because of the dangers of getting in the ring, and we simply don't get that kind of respect most of the time."
"Every fighter who steps foot in that ring and puts themselves in harm's way for entertainment deserves the benefit of the doubt from every single member of the media. For the good of the sport, they have to turn that around," professes Rodriguez. "I'm sick of hearing these announcers pointing out everything bad that a fighter is doing."
"Negative analysts are a travesty of the sport. It ultimately takes away from boxing. They think that they're helping the sport but they're not."
"It's ridiculous," admits David. "It also seems that too much emphasis is placed on a single loss. If a highly regarded fighter loses one fight, he turns into a bum over night."
David believes that sports journalism shouldn't be as scrutinizing as the political press. Boxing, after all, is simply for our entertainment.
With a chip on his shoulder as big as the lone star state, David "El Nino" Rodriguez continues his campaign for Heavyweight glory and issues a declaration to anyone who stands in his way.
"Watch out. Watch out...I'm coming."
"To all of my critics: Keep it coming...your words are fueling my fire."