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Team Alpha Male’s Head Boxing Coach, Joey Rodriguez talks Garbrandt versus Dillashaw and top talent emerging from the team

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One of the most established gyms in MMA, Team Alpha Male is often in the headlines for multiple reasons but one guy who doesn’t get the deserved credit is Head Boxing Coach Joey Rodriguez.

The man behind the mitts has proven to be a secret weapon for the gym’s continuous success as he continues to corner and help prepare the team’s top athletes.

Most recently signed through Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series is Benito Lopez, an undefeated Team Alpha Male standout that Rodriguez feels is one of many fighters that we’ll be seeing in the UFC in the near future.

“I feel like the team has always been successful,” Rodriguez said. “Our newest batch of Alpha Male fighters are now breaking into the scene because they have been developed through the same program Urijah started 10 years ago. We’ve always dominated the region, it’s just now we’re getting guys signed to bigger promotions so people are starting to see them more.”

A young fighter that notoriously rose to the spotlight is bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt who Rodriguez doesn’t usually individually work with but has seen develop through the years.

“Cody’s looking great. When he’s healthy he’s a very dangerous man to have in the room. Besides advice and coaching during sparring, I don’t work one on one with Cody and haven’t worked with him like that since he first came to the team. He’s always had his uncle as his boxing coach and they’ve been very successful so there’s no need to change that.”

Garbrandt is set to defend his title versus TJ Dillashaw at UFC 217 in a rivalry that stemmed from Dillashaw leaving the team. Having been around both guys through the years, Rodriguez broke down the fight technically and admitted that watching the fight will be a little difficult.

“The Cody and TJ match-up is a very interesting one. TJ likes to move a lot, switches stances, and uses his kicks more. Cody is very aggressive and doesn’t waste a lot of movement. He relies of course on his great boxing; he is extremely fast and powerful with both hands.”

Photo by Dave Mandel/Sherdog

“He likes to get right into the fight and engage and I think TJ likes to take his time and break his opponent down. Both are great at what they do. It’s going to be hard for me to watch this fight because I am friends with both of them and don’t want to see either one of them get hurt, but this is the game and they’re both going to make a lot of money so I’m happy for that.”

With Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor set to throw down tomorrow night, Rodriguez believes that Cody Garbrandt who went 32-0 as an amateur boxer has what it takes to try his hands at a pro boxing fight himself.

“Cody is a very good boxer,” Rodriguez said. “He has the speed and the power, along with the high fight IQ to be able to compete in professional boxing. If the money is right, I can see him taking a professional boxing match or two and having success there too.”

One guy that Rodriguez does work closely with is multiple time title challenger Chad Mendes. Mendes is currently serving a 2 year suspension for a failed drug test that he said stemmed from his use of a skin cream to treat plaque psoriasis.

Mendes has taken this time off to recover from a few classic wars as well as focusing on his business and personal life. With his suspension coming to an end this coming May, he has been spending a lot more time in the gym, preparing for his comeback.

“Chad is a phenomenal athlete,” Rodriguez said. “It won’t take long to get him back to the level of fighting he was at. We have a ton of top level training partners to give him the looks he needs to get him ready to compete at the highest level.”

For someone like Mendes, who’s been at the top of the featherweight division for so long and has come so close to claiming gold on multiple occasions, Rodriguez feels it’s better if Chad takes his time upon returning.

“I would still like to get him a tune up fight just because he’s been out of competition for so long,” Rodriguez explained. “He’s been in the gym staying in shape and we’ve been working one on one as well to keep him sharp.”

Rodriguez has been coaching at Team Alpha Male for over 5 years and has worked closely with the majority of the team. He is often seen working one on one with the likes of Chad Mendes, Josh Emmett, Cynthia Calvillo and many more. For Rodriguez, the ambition has always been sharing his knowledge with others.

“I never went pro as a boxer but I was trained and groomed to be a coach by the great Ray Woods,” Rodriguez said. “I feel like he is the most underrated coach in boxing. Back in 2012 I was using Urijah’s gym to train a fighter for a boxing match and I was approached by Fred Aquitania, a heavyweight MMA fighter who asked me if I could help him with his boxing. I did, and then I was able to work with Danny Castillo, then Josh Emmett, David Mitchell, TJ, Cody, Chad, Joe Benavidez and all of them. They liked my style and it just trickled up to becoming the head boxing coach.”

Over the past couple of years there have been many signings from Team Alpha Male to the UFC. There are currently over 12 Alpha Male members in the UFC and Rodriguez believes we’ll be seeing multiple world champions within the next couple of years.

“We have a lot of up and coming talent on the roster now so it’s hard to pinpoint one breakout star, but definitely Josh Emmett is going to make waves soon as well as Bopo Morales, Tyler Diamond, Angelo Trevino, Benito Lopez, and Andrew Coyne. All championship caliber fighters.”

Boxing

Oscar De La Hoya Denies Sexual Assault Allegations

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Oscar De La Hoya

Boxing Hall of Famer Oscar De La Hoya has been accused of sexual assault by an unidentified woman via court papers that were submitted for filing in the Californica Superior Court for Los Angeles County, according to ESPN’s Dan Rafael.

On October 17th, Greg Kirakosian, the attorney for the San Bernardino, California, woman, submitted the 10-page lawsuit, and the unidentified woman is reportedly seeking a jury trial and unspecified damages for alleged sexual assault, sexual battery, gender violence, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress, according to documents obtained by ESPN.

“To date, Plaintiff continues to suffer from extreme distress, humiliation, indignation and outrage as a result of De La Hoya’s conduct,” the lawsuit said. “As a result of said distress, Plaintiff has suffered and continues to suffer constant and daily symptoms of depression, anxiety, and related symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder.”

The woman, who did not indicate within the lawsuit if she filed a report with the police, claims that she met and became friends with De La Hoya in late 2016 before they eventually began a consensual sexual relationship. However, she claims that on November 12th, 2017 the things turned violent when she was invited by De La Hoya to see a new home he had purchased in Pasadena, California.

While the woman claims that the two would have consensual sex later that night, an allegedly intoxicated De La Hoya became more aggressive when she denied his requests for a specific sex act stating; “Plaintiff repeatedly said no and demanded that De La Hoya stop.” It then says De La Hoya “overpowered her” and violently sexually assaulted her.

The woman states in the lawsuit that she “screamed in pain,” got away from De La Hoya and screamed at him, but that De La Hoya laughed “and responded by repeatedly urging Plaintiff to take a shot of alcohol.” The woman eventually collected herself and left “in extreme shock and pain.”

Additionally, the lawsuit states that the woman “felt extreme swelling and pain” and sought medical treatment at an urgent care facility, where she was prescribed medication. According to the lawsuit, the woman later was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the alleged assault.

De La Hoya, 46, has denied the allegations.

“A frivolous lawsuit was filed recently alleging that Oscar De La Hoya sexually assaulted ‘Jane Doe,’ which is completely false,” the statement from his spokesman said. “Oscar is a very successful businessman, running one of the country’s leading sports and entertainment companies — thus a prime target. It is worth noting that both recent lawsuits have been filed by the same attorney who is looking to make a name for himself. We vehemently deny these allegations and look forward to vigorously defending Oscar’s good name and reputation.”

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Boxer Patrick Day Dies of Brain Injuries Following Knockout

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Patrick Day

Less than a week from suffering a brutal 10th-round knockout loss on Saturday night, Junior middleweight Patrick Day died from brain injuries endured from the fight on Wednesday at Northwestern Hospital in Chicago, promoter Lou DiBella said, according to ESPN’s Dan Rafael.

Day, 27, was knocked out by unbeaten 21-year old Charles Cornwell, a blue chip prospect and 2016 United States Olympian, in a fight that Cornwell controlled throughout although Day put up a fight.

Cornwell delivered two rights along with a left hook that knocked out Day, slamming the back of his head on the canvas hard and prompting referee Celestino Ruiz to stop the fight without a count.

“On behalf of Patrick’s family, team, and those closest to him, we are grateful for the prayers, expressions of support and outpouring of love for Pat that have been so obvious since his injury,” DiBella said in a statement. “He was a son, brother, and good friend to many. Pat’s kindness, positivity, and generosity of spirit made a lasting impression with everyone he met.”

Day received medical attention and was removed from the ring via stretcher where he was taken to an ambulance and transported to a hospital.

Day never regained consciousness. Day had a seizure at one point, and then lapsed into a coma before undergoing emergency brain surgery with doctors giving him very little chance for survival.

“During his short life, boxing allowed Patrick to impact many communities, both big and small,” DiBella said. “In his hometown of Freeport, Long Island, he was a beacon of light and the star pupil at the Freeport PAL, the gym he trained in from the moment he began boxing until the last bout of his career. He was recognized as one of Long Island’s finest professional fighters for years. He was a fixture in the boxing community throughout New York City. Patrick was even known in Japan, which he visited to spar with his friend and colleague, world champion Ryota Murata.”

The fight was streamed live on DAZN, who issued the following:

“DAZN is incredibly saddened to learn about the passing of Patrick Day,” a DAZN spokesman said in a statement. “Our heartfelt thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”

“I never meant for this to happen to you,” Conwell wrote. “All I ever wanted to do was win. If I could take it all back I would. No one deserves for this to happen to them. I replay the fight over and over in my head thinking what if this never happened and why did it happen to you. I can’t stop thinking about it myself. I prayed for you so many times and shedded so many tears because I couldn’t even imagine how my family and friends would feel. I see you everywhere I go and all I hear is wonderful things about you.”

“Before establishing himself as a world class professional fighter, Pat was a highly decorated amateur,” DiBella said. “He won two nationals titles, the New York Golden Gloves tournament and was an Olympic team alternate, all in 2012. Day turned pro in 2013 and overcame early career struggles to become a world-rated (junior middleweight) contender. He captured the WBC Continental Americas championship in 2017 and the IBF Intercontinental championship in 2019. In June 2019, he was rated in the top 10 by both the WBC and IBF.

“He was also a dedicated college student, having earned an associate’s degree in food and nutrition from Nassau Community College and, subsequently, a bachelor’s degree in health and wellness from Kaplan University.”

“Patrick Day didn’t need to box,” DiBella said. “He came from a good family, he was smart, educated, had good values and had other avenues available to him to earn a living. He chose to box, knowing the inherent risks that every fighter faces when he or she walks into a boxing ring. Boxing is what Pat loved to do. It’s how he inspired people and it was something that made him feel alive.”

Dibella went on to say that he hopes Day’s death will lead to ways to make boxing a safer sport.

“It becomes very difficult to explain away or justify the dangers of boxing at a time like this,” DiBella said. “This is not a time where edicts or pronouncements are appropriate, or the answers are readily available. It is, however, a time for a call to action. While we don’t have the answers, we certainly know many of the questions, have the means to answer them, and have the opportunity to respond responsibly and accordingly and make boxing safer for all who participate.

“This is a way we can honor the legacy of Pat Day. Many people live much longer than Patrick’s 27 years, wondering if they made a difference or positively affected their world. This was not the case for Patrick Day when he left us. Rest in peace and power, Pat, with the angels.”

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Errol Spence Jr. Hospitalized Following Car Crash

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Errol Spence Jr.

Unified Welterwight World Champion Error Spence Jr. has been hospitalized with serious injuries following a one-car crash early Thursday, according to ESPN’s Dan Rafael.

Spence crashed his Ferrari overnight and is currently in intensive care, but is expected to live.

“Errol was in an accident, and his parents are with him at the hospital,” Premier Boxing Champions spokesman Tim Smith said, per the report. “The doctors are monitoring his condition, but his injuries are not life-threatening. We will have further updates as the doctors update his condition. We’re all wishing the best for Errol.”

“The Ferrari veered left over the center median onto the southbound lanes and flipped multiple times, ejecting the driver, who was not wearing a seatbelt,” police said.

Police are investigating the cause of the crash, which they say occurred at 2:53 am when the car was traveling at “a high rate of speed.”

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