Professional boxing is arguably one of the toughest and most physically demanding sports in the world, which is why the number of competitors is slim and the percentage of success stories even smaller.
Most boxers don't even come close to their career goal, before finding the sport too tough to continue. But this is not true for Turlock's own pro boxer, Marco “El Muñeco” Delgado.
Delgado continued his undefeated streak to kick off his career with a 3-0 record after winning on Saturday via knockout from the Omega Products International in Sacramento after his opponent, Richard Rigmaden, missed weight by nearly 10 pounds.
It was an outdoor event by Thompson Boxing Promotions and the anticipation leading up to the weigh-ins was electric —much like the ending of the fight, which lasted less than a full round.
“Preparation for this fight was different because Rigmaden was a lefty,” said Delgado's trainer Chico Rodriguez. “We had to look for lefty sparring, which is difficult to find at this level. We were lucky enough to spar with a fighter, Aaron Coley, from the Bay Area. Coley is 15-1 as a pro and has been in camps with Andre Ward and Miguel Cotto.”
Being able to get in just six rounds of sparring for Delgado was really good for him said Rodriguez.
However, the fight almost didn't even happen and it all took place the day before.
“The weigh-in was Friday and it was supposed to be at 180,” said Rodriguez. “When we got there, Marco was 180 and the opponent was 188, so once he decided he was going to take the fight, he had about 20 minutes before the actual weigh-in and he started drinking water and Gatorade.”
Delgado weighed in officially at 183 while Rigmaden got on the scale at 189.
On fight day, Delgado topped out at 185 while Rigmaden had shot up well over 200.
“I instantly wanted to cancel the fight,” said Rodriguez. “Giving up a pound or two in boxing is big, nine-pounds is huge. Plus, I knew he would rehydrate overnight and probably be over 200 pounds the day of the fight. Marco and I talked it over and he ultimately decided that he had put in six weeks of training, he had a big following coming to support him, so he wanted to fight.”
The commission ruled that Rigmaden would have to give 20 percent of his purse to Delgado and the fight would go on as scheduled.
“It took so long to get ready to get in shape. We made a fundraiser where a lot of people helped out and it's not easy to find fights in the valley. That's why I took the fight,” said Delgado. “I never had any doubt that's another reason I took the fight.”
Once the fight started, Rigmaden came into the ring weighing in approximately 211, but the heart of Delgado was unmatched along with his determination to get it done.
With such a weight discrepancy between the two, odds were quickly stacked against Delgado, however, he preceded to work his strategy.
“I was not happy. I knew the only way Rigmaden could beat us was if we traded shots with him early,” said Rodriguez. “I was hoping Marco could get to his body to slow him down and maybe get him out of there by round three or four. It did not go as planned.”
About a minute into the fight, Marco landed a right hand to the body that was borderline and Rigmaden immediately fell.
“I thought the fight was over but the referee ruled it a low blow and gave Rigmaden five minutes to recover,” said Rodriguez.
Following all of the five minutes of recovery time, the fight resumed as both exchanged shots once again, before Delgado was caught off balance and dropped.
“He immediately popped up, then he looked over to me to tell me he was fine,” said Rodriguez. “I yelled at him to relax and box.”
They continued just moments after and Delgado followed with a right hand that pushed Rigmaden back to the ropes then with a straight right to the body, Delgado finished it with a left hook to Rigmaden's temple that dropped him for the 10-count with 37 seconds remaining in the opening round.
“In boxing, you make one mistake and that could be your last,” said Delgado. “My feet were out of position and it all just happened so fast. I don't know what I was thinking, I was more embarrassed than anything. After I got up, we were able to get him out of there with a good body shot.”
With the win, Delgado remains perfect in his professional boxing run at 3-0.
“In a way, I am happy this happened early in my career. This fight taught me a lot. It's going to improve my focus and if the guy is 10 pounds overweight, we are not taking the fight,” said Delgado.
Delgado is next slated to return to the ring before the year ends, according to his Rodriguez.
“We are hoping to have him back sometime in late August or early September,” Rodriguez added. “I learned to always expect the unexpected in boxing. The weight issue will never happen again to us. If the opponent comes in big, I am cancelling the fight. This sport is dangerous enough. I'm not putting Marco in with a guy who outweighs him by that much ever again.”