SAN DIEGO, November 17, 2013 – A 14 month layoff didn’t hurt super middleweight champion Andre Ward. Not a hint of ring rust showed up as he outpunched and outscored Edwin Rodriguez in every conceivable way to win a 12-round unanimous decision at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California.
After Rodriguez initially failed to make weight, he made his secondary weigh-in Saturday. But it was clear he was depleted and not up to par to face Ward. He started the fight attempting to rush in and be aggressive, then hold Ward. But Ward is simply too smart and too accurate a puncher, and round by round he took Rodriguez apart with a hard left jab, left hook, and some impressive right hooks thanks to his newly rehabilitated shoulder. Give Rodriguez credit though, he can take a punch and he never gave up.
Rodriguez wasn’t able to answer save a few body shots and a jab here and there. The punch output tells the story of the fight. Ward landed 217 of 516 punches, a 41 percent connect rate. Rodriguez landed 85 of 389 punches, a 22 percent connect rate. Ward landed 86 jabs to Rodriguez’ 16 jabs, and 131 power shots, double the 66 power shots by Rodriguez.
After the bout, Ward told HBO’s Max Kellerman, “He (Rodriguez) didn’t come to win, he came to get lucky … You gotta learn to fight these guys. It’s not going to be a spectacular performance, but a win is a win.”
Ward also slammed Rodriguez for not making weight. “At the end of the day those are the things I feel are unprofessional. It’s a championship fight. There’s no way in my first championship fight I wouldn’t make weight.”
The first few rounds looked more like wrestling than boxing. Referee Jack Reiss repeatedly warned the fighters not to engage in holding and dirty tactics. As the fourth round started with yet more grappling, Reiss moved in to separate the fighters. Both continued to grab and throw as Reiss tried to play human crowbar and wedge the two apart. Rodriguez grazed Reiss with a punch, and that was enough.
Reiss stopped the time clock 20 seconds into the round and took two points away from each fighter. He also told members of the California State Athletic Commission he wanted the pair fined.
Reiss then lectured both fighters that he wouldn’t tolerate any more of their dirty tactics, and threatened to disqualify either of them if they failed to comply. Reiss said after the fight he’d never done it before, but explained both were being unsportsmanlike and he needed to get things under control. Asked if he got roughed up, Reiss laughed and said, “I got hit, but I didn’t go down.”
It was Rodriguez’ first loss. He is now 24-1, 16 KOs. Ward retained his WBA super middleweight title and remains undefeated with 27-0, 14 KOs. Ward managed to generate some excitement with his wicked accuracy, turning a messy fight into one that was at least worth watching.
Who’s next for Ward? Possible opponents include Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. and middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, who has said in the past he’d come up in weight from 160 to 168. Golovkin is perhaps another fight or two away from serious consideration. There’s also the potential of facing the winner of Adonis Stevenson versus Sergey Kovalev. Give me Ward and Kovalev for a fun fight.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Media Migraine in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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