As he prepares to go from promising prospect to legitimate contender, undefeated Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez’ recent magical mystery tour as a sparring partner in major training camps Australia, England and Miami provided him with invaluable post graduate boxing courses. Dominican Republic-native Rodriguez (17-0, 13 KOs), arguably the world’s premier super middleweight prospect, is coming off of a sensational performance November 5 in the main event on ShoBox: The New Generation, stopping James McGirt in the ninth round for the vacant WBC USNBC super middleweight title..
Rodriguez tuned-up for his fight against McGirt as a sparring partner for Daniel Geale (24-1, 15 KOs) during a 10-day working stretch in Australia. Geale later knocked out Roman Karmazin in the 12th round of their IBF middleweight title eliminator.
Rodriguez parlayed the Geale training camp lessons into even more career-enhancing experiences for 10 days in England with Carl “The Cobra” Froch (27-1, 20 KOs), who went on to defeat Arthur Abraham by way of a dominant 12-round unanimous decision for the WBA super middleweight crown in the Super Six Tournament. Edwin followed that by working two weeks in Miami with WBC light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal, who fought a 12-round draw with Bernard Hopkins this past weekend.
“It’s been a great experience,” Rodriguez spoke about his sparring ‘journey’ that’s brought him around the world. “I’m at the point now where I want to get where they are. I’ve learned from working with all of them but the most important lesson is that elite athletes do not put on more than 10 pounds walking around weight between fights.
“All of these training camps haven’t been too much different – they were all intense. Geale is hungry to get there (world title) and he really worked hard. All three are very good athletes. I wasn’t surprised that Carl won so convincingly because I know how powerful Carl Froch is with his style, Abraham wasn’t able to run through Carl like he had against most opponents. His training was about using his long jab to keep Abraham outside. Everything worked off the jab and Carl perfectly executed his game plan. Every time we sparred, he worked on that plan but a few times we ended-up banging. He just caught himself and went back to using his jab, not letting me – acting like Abraham – walk through like Abraham likes to do.”
Froch, after defeating Abraham, publicly acknowledged Rodriguez’ work, saying, “Sparring with Edwin was brilliant. He is very fast, can punch with both hands, and stays in there. I feel he has far more natural ability and speed than Abraham; big respect for Edwin Rodriguez because he got me ready for this.”
Next stop for “La Bomba” was Miami at Pascal’s (26-1-1, 16 KOs) training camp with Edwin playing the role of Jean’s opponent last Saturday night, living legend Bernard Hopkins, in preparation for their Showtime showdown in Quebec City.
“Training with Pascal was different than for Froch,” Rodriguez remarked. “They didn’t do nearly as much sparring, it was more tactical. Froch may have had more tactical days at his training camp but I wasn’t there until 10 days at the end. Pascal has a good trainer from Cuba, Pedro Diaz, who has had 20 Olympic gold medalists. I spent Thanksgiving with him and his family. To an extent I did what they expected Hopkins to bring to the table. What they were really looking for was competitiveness from me to help him.
“They had everything there: cooks, strength coaches, nutritionists, sports physiologists…you name it. And I got to take advantages of all these people. I can tell you that everybody there worked like animals. It was a very good training camp; well organized with everybody working hard.”
Rodriguez’ next fight is set for January 14 in Key West, Florida on ESPN2 Friday Night Fights in the 10-round co-feature against Aaron Pryor, Jr., son of former world champion Aaron Pryor.
Born in the Dominican Republic, Edwin started boxing in 2001 and he developed into one of the top amateurs in the United States, compiling a solid 84-9 record, including gold-medal performances in the 2005 USA Boxing National Championships and 2006 U.S. National Golden Gloves Tournament. Rodriguez, who has dual citizenship in the U.S. and Dominican Republic, became the first Massachusetts boxer to win the middleweight title at The Nationals since “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler in 1973.
Rodriquez is promoted by DiBella Entertainment, managed by Larry Army, and trained by Peter Manfredo, Sr.
Go online to www.edwinrodriguezboxing.com or www.dbe1.com for more information about Rodriguez