Exclusive Interview with heavyweight knockout artist David "Nino" Rodriguez
by Charles C. White - How are you doing today David?
DR: I'm doing great. I feel healthy, strong, and about to go on a long run..
CW: You are an undefeated, big heavyweight at 6'4'' to-6'5'' and roughly 240-250 lbs with a record of 33-0 with 31 knockouts. Tell the readers a bit about your style of fighting.
DR: I'm deceivingly fast for my size and very coordinated. I would consider myself a boxer/puncher and power in both hands. I'm very explosive and not at all afraid to mix it up with the best of them...
CW: Do you have any amateur experience to speak of?
DR: My amateur experience was very limited. I boxed recreationally as a kid. I started when I was 5 years old and played every sport on the seasons. I never would have dreamed as a kid I would be fighting for a living (laughs).
CW: As a young fighter growing up, or even now, what fighters do you admire?
DR: The fighters I always admired were Mike Tyson for his unreal superhuman ferociousness and power, Muhammad Ali for his wittiness and speed, and De La Hoya for his charisma and intelligence in and out of the ring. My all time favorite is Rocky Marciano.
CW: I understand that you were once taught by the late great Rocky Galarza, and that since his passing, you have been working with Louie Burke. Did Louie basically pick up where Galarza left off, or has he remolded you into a different kind of fighter?
DR: I believe Louie is the best kept secret in boxing. He has taught me things I never thought possible since the time I started training with him. He has improved my style and taken me to a whole new level. Rocky gave me guts and groomed me to be very durable and pulled out the junkyard dog in me. It was a street fight every time I trained and sparred at his gym. I remember we trained in the barrio on the eastside of El Paso behind his bar. Perfectly fitting for a boxing gym and to learn the trade (laughs). I will always miss Rocky. He was a great mentor.
CW: What kinds of things have you been working on in camp that will make you a more complete fighter?
DR: I never stop working on different things. Louie tries to get creative with me and we work on different styles sometimes and southpaw. Things I'm not used to but might have to use in a fight. I listen to everything Louie says as far as training goes. I'm hard headed in all the other areas.
CW: You have had excellent sparring in the past with guys like Tony Tubbs, Audley Harrison, Hasim Rahman, and Travis Walker. Tell us about those sparring sessions and what you took away from them..
DR: Those guys are all tough and we all worked really well together. I learn every time I spar with the big names. I know I'm right there with the best of them. Camps are always great.
CW: Any news on when your next fight is, and who you will be facing?
DR: I have no news just yet on my next fight because we are trying to iron out some promoter issues but I really hope it gets figured out soon because I'm not getting any younger (laughs).
CW: I'm obligated to ask; you are still young for a heavyweight at 32 years old, but when are you going to start fighting a better level of competition? I understand that you have gotten this far without the backing of a major promoter, so is the hold up from the top 10 fighters been due to it being difficult to get fights without major promotion?
DR: I believe it's major promotion. We are coming into any fight with an undefeated record and high marketability so we feel we have good leverage for any negotiation. I've worked hard and I have a gigantic following in El Paso and the south west. I know ticket sales would be sky high and I can sell out in my home town. The people in El Paso are dying for a big fight from me and I honestly believe [that with] the condition that boxing is in right now, this sport needs me. I know I have what it takes to bring the spotlight back to the heavyweight division.
CW: What is your timeframe for fighting the top fighters?
DR: It's all about the right timing. I only get one shot or go around at this. I give myself a window of two more years before I honestly throw my hands up and maybe try my hands at another area in the fight world; MMA.
CW: In the past, you have mentioned that you would like a fight with fellow Mexican-American Chris Arreola. Now that Arreola has been set back by Tomasz Adamek, do you think a fight between you and Chris could materialize? Two all-action Mexican-American brawlers would be a big attraction and would make for a good fight..
DR: I can totally see this happening in the horizon at some point. I know Chris has proven himself among the top 10 elite fighters and I still need to get in that category. I can see a fight like that materializing in just a couple or few more fights when I have proven my salt.
CW: Is there anybody else on your radar right now?
DR: There is always someone on the radar. My ultimate dream is definitely fighting for the Heavyweight Championship within 2 years. Everything is and always has been up to my management. Whoever they put in front of me I will prepare for and bring a nightmare of a fight to anyone who steps in there with me.
CW: What are your impressions of the current heavyweight landscape, and how do you rate the current champions?
DR: I believe the current landscape right now is boring, very technical, and people fall asleep watching the heavyweights today. I think all the guys who are champions deserve to be there, but the heavyweight division has lost its luster and needs to be shaken up again. It's time.
CW: Stylistically, which champ do you see yourself matching up the best against?
DR: The Klitschko brothers. Only because every guy has tried to box them and follow their beat. I would bring some very different music and will put it all on the line.
CW: Something I wanted to ask you about was your hand in the Robert Davis fight. You impressively tko'd Davis in the third round, but after the fight it was discovered that you had a deep gash in your right hand I think it was. There was some speculation that the gash occured after you threw a powerful right hand at Davis' mouth and one of his teeth got knocked out and went right through your glove and into your hand in the proccess. Is this so?
DR: You know there was no laceration on the glove that a tooth would have caused so the whole thing is still a mystery to me. All I know is that the craziest injuries always happen to me (laughs).
CW: In your last fight, you earned a second round tko over Daniel Bispo (22-12 at that time) on the undercard of Erik Morales' comeback fight against Jose Alfaro. Tell us what it felt like to fight on the same card as a legend like Morales..
DR: It was an honor to fight in Mexico on such a legend's card. I have always admired Erik Morales and his heart. My fight was fairly quick so I got to get changed up, get out to the arena and watch the fight front row. It was very entertaining!
CW: Did you happen to catch the Mosley-Mayweather fight, and if so, what are your thoughts on both fighters' performances?
DR: I was actually there and felt [that] both fighters showed tremendous heart and Mayweather, after enduring a barrage of blows in the second, was allowed to get back on his rythm and out point and work Mosley. I give it up to both fighters. Both are masterful boxers.
CW: After seeing that performance live, how do you think a Pacquiao-Mayweather mega fight unfolds if and when it happens?
DR: I think that's really anyone's guess. That's why it's getting so much attention and considered a mega fight. As entertaining as Pacquiao is..I don't see anyone beating Mayweather as of now. Should be interesting to see.
CW: Thank you for your time David. Any final message for the fans?
DR: Big fights on the horizon and I'm truly grateful for all the support from any of my fans and especially from my hometown of El Paso, TX and now my new fans from all over Mexico. It means so much to represent all of you and I'm honored to represent such a wonderful fanbase. God bless.
For questions or comments, or to simply chat about boxing, Charles C. White can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Article posted on 22.05.2010