A Meeting At the Crossroads

By Francis Walker
Updated: February 14, 2008

GlovesNEW YORK — Delvin Rodriguez (21-2-1, 13 KOs) will face unbeaten 40 year-old Troy Browning (20-0-1, 8 KOs) in the main event of an ESPN “Friday Night Fights” telecast from the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT.

A victory for Rodriguez, the 27 year-old from the Dominican Republic, will keep him on track toward developing into a world title contender in a deeply talented welterweight division.

A loss, which Rodriguez already has on his professional record, could all but dampen his chances of fighting for a world title someday. “At this stage every fight is important to every fighter,” Rodriguez’ manager Stan Hoffman said during an exclusive interview with BASN.

“It’s important to Troy, as it is to Delvin.”

It appears as though Rodriguez is in a no-win situation. A victory would improve his resume, but it would come against an old Philadelphia-fighter who has fought local journeymen. A loss and people will say that he wasn’t that good anyway.

Hoffman, however, disagrees. “I don’t really look at it as a no-win situation,” Hoffman added. “The guy is 40 years old and fought less than a handful of guys with decent records. The guy is solid. He has kept winning.”

“He’s a southpaw and that gives him an edge. He’s always there in your face. We want to give Delvin challenges. On paper he looks like he can go rounds. Let’s see what happens.”

Should Rodriguez emerge victorious, Hoffman hopes to keep him busy for the remainder of the year with an eye on a possible title shot in 2009. That’s easier said than done, as Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto are eying possible challenges from Oscar De La Hoya and Antonio Margarito respectively.

Plus, newly crowned WBO champion Carlos Quintana could be seeking a big fight against either Andre Berto or any of the other elite welterweight fighters including Sugar Shane Mosley or Zab Judah.

“The plan for 2008 is to get Delvin Rodriguez in apposition by the end of the year to get in the top 5. It doesn’t matter who he fights. We’ll fight Margarito or Berto. We tried to get a fight with Berto, but couldn’t get his people to fight us.”

Hoffman was also amazed by Quintana’s 12-round unanimous decision win against previously unbeaten WBO welterweight champion Paul Williams last week.

Quintana resurrected his career after being labeled a quitter after quitting on his stool against Miguel Cotto in December 2006.

“Absolutely,” Hoffman said. “I was very surprised. That shows you really can’t take anybody lightly. Delvin’s talents are really beginning to show, but you really can’t take anyone lightly even though the guy he’ll be fighting is 40 years old.”

Hoffman added: “I’ve been in boxing for a lot of years. Delvin, without a doubt, is an absolutely terrific boxer. He has good hand speed and good height (5′ 10″). When he goes into fights he’ll be able to outbox guys.”

Oubaali Makes U.S. TV Debut Inn Co-Feature

In addition to Rodriguez-Browning, the ESPN telecast will also feature the U.S. television debut of 30-year-old Frenchman, Ali Oubaali (20-3, 17 KOs) against Ashley Theophane (20-2-1, 7 KOs).

“This fight is very important because, it’s my first fight on U.S. television,” Oubaali told BASN during an exclusive interview. “It’s a big chance for the people in the United States to see me and not just for one fight. I’m not really looking for a KO. If it comes, that’s great. But I just want o work.”

Oubaali comes from a family of 12 brothers and 5 sisters from the same Moroccan parents. He has lived in the United States fore less than two years and currently resides in Brooklyn.

Oubaali loves the sport so much; he has made the tough sacrifice of leaving his family behind in France to pursuer a professional career here in America.

“I love the sport so much, I’ve made it my passion,” Oubaali added. “My goal is to become a world champion. I love and miss my family, but all of them support me a lot. Even the French-American community supports me a lot.”

Qubaali’s biggest goal is not winning a world championship like most fighters. Instead, Oubaali’s biggest dream is to meet the legendary Muhammad Ali.

“My biggest goal is to meet Muhammad Ali,” Oubaali said. “I would tell him ‘thank you for what you did. You inspire me everyday.’ Ali is a big, big influence on me.”