Just off the I-10 freeway in Southern California stands an electric-powered billboard that flashes images of upcoming events, and in-between promoting an upcoming Cher concert and the inaugural game for the Ontario Reign minor league hockey team is an advertisement that simply states, ‘The Return’, with a picture of the consensus No. 2 fighter in the world, Andre Ward, and the date of November 16.
The Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California will be the venue for ‘The Return’ of the fighter who is the closest ranked to the No. 1 boxer in the world in Floyd Mayweather Jr.
SHERMAN OAKS, CA (September 20, 2013) – Following slightly more than a year’s absence from the ring due to injury, Bay Area hero, 2004 U.S. Olympic gold medalist and current WBA and Ring Magazine World Super Middleweight Champion, Andre “S.O.G.” Ward makes his highly anticipated return to the ring defending his title against Edwin Rodriguez on Saturday, November 16 at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, CA.
Simply and appropriately billed as “The Return,” Ward (26-0, 13 KOs) will risk his title against the undefeated Rodriguez (24-0, 16 KOs) in the scheduled 12-round World Championship main event which will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing® beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT.
For just a moment, let us allow ourselves, the true boxing fans to acknowledge the great accomplishment of Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez. Last Saturday evening at the Salle des etoiles in Monte Carlo, Monaco the Dominican cum Massachusetts fighter thoroughly destroyed Denis “Drago’s Son” Grachev after less than two hundred seconds had elapsed. Perhaps the fact that throughout the majority of the first and only round, Grachev stood almost squarely in front of Rodriguez.
Add to that the almost platinum buzz cut adorned by Denis made his head look like a box for which to box and three sides of the box to hit was all Edwin (24(16)-0) would need to tee off on his opponent. It is up to the interpretation of the boxing know whether or not the first round TKO victory was a true shock or as expected.
Super middleweight Edwin Rodriguez (24-0, 16 KO’s) proved he was the better man tonight in quickly stopped Denis Grachev (13-2-1, 8 KO’s) in the 1st round on Saturday night at the Salle des etoiles, in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Rodriguez nailed a hurt Grachev with three straight clubbing right hands to the head that ended with referee Stanley Christodolou stopping in to stop the fight at 2:50 of the round.
Rodriguez had already put Grachev down twice in the round, and he was hitting him nearly at will at the time of the stoppage.
Rodriguez made the calculated move to come out blazing fast in the 1st round and throwing everything he had at the slower but hard hitting Grachev.
By Joseph Herron – After his dominant performance against previously undefeated KO artist Jason Escalera on HBO Boxing After Dark two weeks ago, Super Middleweight contender Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez (22-0, 15 KOs) immediately issued a challenge to former universally recognized Middleweight Champion Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik.
Although the superb match-up would be one of the more fan friendly pairings that could possibly be made in the talent enriched division, the Youngstown, Ohio native stated through numerous media sources that Edwin isn’t an accomplished enough fighter to make a truly meaningful fight at this stage in his career.
“In a recent interview I read, Kelly Pavlik stated that I was horrible and that he would rather watch paint dry than watch one of my fights,” stated Edwin Rodriguez. “He also stated that there wasn’t enough money in a fight with me at this time.”
After headlining HBO Boxing After Dark and closing the show with a resounding bang, “La Bomba” found great folly and hypocrisy in Kelly’s response.
By Joseph Herron: On Saturday night, at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods in Mashantucket, Connecticut, Super Middleweight contender Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez (22-0, 15 KOs) made a major statement to the rest of the talent enriched 168 pound weight class by stopping the previously undefeated Jason Escalera (13-1-1, 12 KOs) in impressive fashion while making his first headlining appearance on HBO Boxing After Dark.
After the sensational performance, Rodriguez was very clear in stating that he wanted to tangle with former universally recognized Middleweight Champion Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik in the near future.
Though it’s clear this bout would be considered a potential fight of the year candidate by most boxing fans and fight scribes before both men ever entered the ring, it’s uncertain which fighter would eventually hold their arm up in victory.
To give fight fans and boxing enthusiasts a closer examination of this fan friendly match-up, master fight strategist James Gogue analyzes the head to head pairing.
by Paul Strauss: Edwin “La Bamba” Rodriquez 22-0-0 (KO 15) pulled off a bit of a surprise when he jumped out with heavy shots in the first round of his fight with Jason Escalera 13-1-1 (KO 11) in the MGM Grand at Foxwood Resorts, Mashuntucket, Conn. Rodriquez took chances winding up and telegraphing his looping heavy shots. He realized he could get away with it, because Escalera failed to counter and instead went into an upright shell, failing to move his head. Several of the big bombs got through to the body, and many bounced off Escalera’s gloves, getting through to his head. Escalera was rocking right away in the opening stanza.
Rodriquez’ trainer Ronnie Shields liked what he saw, but he continually cautioned Edwin to fight smart and at the right distance. As the fight progressed, Shields knew Rodriquez was winning, but he also knew that he was getting hit with shots he shouldn’t be. As advertised, Escalera showed signs of being a decent puncher, but he didn’t listen to his corner men’s advice about moving his head and punching to the body. Hence, he was spending way too much time catching shots, rather than throwing them. There are good things about his style, though. He has good balance. He keeps his feet underneath him when he punches. He doesn’t over extend, and he throws nice, crisp, straight shots, but most of the time Rodriquez wasn’t there to receive them.
(Picture: Edward Diller – DiBella Entertainment/Star Boxing) MASHANTUCKET, Conn. (September 29, 2012) – Undefeated Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez (22-0, 15 KOs) made a major statement tonight in the main event, punishing a tough, previously unbeaten Jason “Monstruo” Escalera (13-1-1, 12 KOs) until referee Steve Smoger called off the fight at the start of the eighth round, on tonight’s special HBO Boxing After Dark tripleheader in MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
“Road To Glory” was promoted by DiBella Entertainment, in association with Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing and Gary Shaw Productions.
Rodriguez came out after the first bell throwing bombs and nearly dropped a game Escalera on several occasions, winning 10-8 on all three judges’ scorecards, and the dynamic Dominican living in Worcester (MA) never let up in his first United States Boxing Association (USBA) title defense. He won every round convincingly, showcasing his entire arsenal in the process. Rodriguez is closing in on a major fight, if not a world title shot, and is rated No. 3 by the World Boxing Council (WBC), No. 4 by the International Boxing Federation (IBF), No. 8 by the World Boxing Association (WBA), and No. 9 by The Ring Magazine.
By Joseph Herron – “Where the heavyweight division goes, so goes boxing,” was an age old adage that seemed to characterize the popular sentiment of the sport within any era. But in the new millennium, “Where HBO goes, so goes boxing,” would be a more appropriate maxim to sum up the current state of the industry.
An impressive or disappointing performance while headlining HBO’s “WBC” or “BAD” has become more impactful to a fighter’s career than actually winning or losing a major world title. It is widely viewed as the benchmark for success in boxing.
Tonight on HBO’s “Boxing After Dark”, Super Middleweight contender Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez (21-0, 14 KOs) will appear in the main event of the popular television series for the first time in his promising career.
In what could be a defining night for the DiBella Entertainment hopeful, the Worcester, Mass resident will face the big puncher from Jersey, Jason Escalera (13-0, 12 KOs), in a Super Middleweight battle of unbeatens.
Is Edwin ready for his biggest moment as a professional?
“I want to be able to make a statement my next fight to get a guy like Kelly Pavlik, or Arthur Abraham, or one of those big names” – Edwin Rodriguez
Exclusive Interview by Geoffrey Ciani – I was recently afforded the opportunity to speak with undefeated super middleweight contender Edwin Rodriguez (21-0, 14 KOs) who is preparing to square off against fellow undefeated fighter Jason Escalara (13-0-1, 12 KOs) on September 29 in a bout that will be televised by HBO. Rodriguez spoke about his upcoming fight and shared his views on his opponent. He also provided opinions on a variety of topics, including the chemistry he shares with head trainer Ronnie Shields, Andre Ward’s impressive victory against Chad Dawson last weekend, his idea on what it would take to beat someone of Ward’s caliber, and more! Here is a complete transcript from that interview.
GEOFFREY CIANI: Hello boxing fans. This is Geoffrey Ciani from East Side Boxing and I’m here with super middleweight contender Edwin Rodriguez. How’s everything going, Edwin?
EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: Everything is great. I’m here in Houston, Texas with Ronnie Shields having a great training camp.
CIANI: Great! Now you have a big fight coming up September 29 against Jason Escalara. You said the training camp is going great. So you’re confident in your preparations for this fight thus far?
RODRIGUEZ: Yes sir, extremely confident. Me and Ronnie had a really good training camp where we were able to sit down and learn a few things, and just get a really good game plan for this next fight. We’ve had really good sparring partners. I’ve been working with Cornelius White, who’s top ten in the world at 175, and Don Mouton and me did ten rounds on Tuesday, and I feel great.