The time has finally come for top super middleweight contender Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez to prove that he is ready for the best that the 168 pound division has to offer when he challenges WBA Super World Super Middleweight Champion Andre Ward on November 16. “I feel amazing. I feel pretty good. I have been telling everybody that would listen that I have been ready for this fight for quite a bit now. I think that it came at the right time, and I’m getting prepared to the fullest,” Rodriguez claimed.
It wasn’t easy to get this fight put together. There was a financial disagreement between the two camps in which Rodriguez’ team felt that he wasn’t getting paid for what the fight was truly worth. This suggested to some fans and members of the media that maybe Rodriguez was just looking for a big pay day and wasn’t totally confident of getting a victory over Ward. Rodriguez strongly disagrees with those people and had this to say: “I’m too competitive for all that. The first battle, that I was really no part of it, was between Al Haymon and Lou Dibella and his team to get me paid what the fight was worth. After that it is what it is. Now we won that battle. Now this is between me and Andre Ward. You better believe I’m 100 percent working hard to win this fight. There’s no pay day. There no big enough money in the world that’s going allow me to just lay down for anyone, hell no.”
There has been some recent controversy in the media about additional drug testing by VADA for this fight in which Rodriguez will be participating in and Ward will not. Ward has questioned why VADA testing has been brought up now but wasn’t brought up in the original negotiations for the fight, suggesting that maybe the whole thing has been a publicity stunt by Rodriguez and his team to try and stir up controversy. Rodriguez tried to clear things up and gave his side of the story. “I didn’t think it was a big deal to bring it up in the negotiations. In fact Victor Conte, you know him about being part of VADA testing, and he was going to sponsor him (Ward) and me for it, so there was no money involved. We spoke to his team and Virgil (Ward’s trainer) about it. He never gave us an answer. I felt that he had the chance to speak up and give us an answer and he didn’t.” Rodriguez went on to explain in further detail, “I’m taking a stand. I thought it was a good opportunity for him to do it as well. Obviously he didn’t want it. He would go in the media and say that he has no problem with it but then he won’t do it. I don’t know what the reason behind that is, and I don’t really care. I’m doing my part for the sport, and that’s all I can do. I didn’t bring it up in the negotiations because the fight is not going to not happen because of it.”
Andre Ward, although highly skilled, has a very difficult awkward style that tends to give his opponents fits. When asked how he will deal with Ward’s awkward rough and tumble style Rodriguez replied, “Andre Ward is definitely a dirty fighter. He is a fighter that is trained to fight dirty. That’s a dirty fighter. Somebody that continues to smash his head into their opponent by walking right towards their opponent, the little things that he does are on purpose. The head butts that he creates are on purpose. I have seen him in the Bika fight throw elbows and stuff like that, so he is a fighter that is trained to fight dirty, and I can’t allow that to get to my head.”
Notwithstanding Ward’s exceptional boxing skills, the one glaring difference that seems to separate him from Rodriguez is his much superior resume. Rodriguez doesn’t think that it will matter come November 16. “I’m not going to say that I’m better than anyone that he has fought, but I am going to say that I’m more complete than anybody else he has fought. I could do a lot of things that Andre Ward’s other opponents weren’t able to do. I’m able to adapt to different things. I got defense. I got power. I got speed, and I’m confident, and I got the will to win.” If Rodriguez is right, win, lose or draw, we should be in for an interesting fight.
Listen to the full interview here: http://mixlr.com/thaboxingvoice/showreel/hopkins-vs-murat-quillin-vs-rosado-brook-vs-sencheko/