After two tough, competitive fights in a row against Don “The Bomb” George and Will Rosinsky, some critics were starting to question just how good Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez really is. It seems as though because Rodriguez has been a highly touted prospect/contender for awhile now, anything less than a convincing win is unacceptable by many people’s standards. Last Saturday night, Rodriguez was looking to provide us with that convincing win that a lot of people have been calling for and he did just that against Hoboken, New Jersey native Jason Escalera by administering a one sided beating and stopping him in eight rounds.
Escalera entered the bout with a 13-0-1 record with 12 knockouts which would indicate that he is a big puncher, and because of the amount of knockouts on his record, he was touted as a potentially dangerous opponent for Rodriguez, who had a “puncher’s chance.” The only problem with that perception is that Escalera’s knockouts came against nondescript opposition, who were nowhere near the level of Rodriguez in the boxing skill department.
By his own admission, Rodriguez felt that he needed a knockout last Saturday and anything less than that would have been a disappointment. He felt that he really needed to make a statement. “He (Escalera) talked a lot of smack at the weigh in and at the press conference and I wanted to let him know that, that was still in my mind,” said Rodriguez when asked about the significance of scoring a knockout. “I needed to make that statement and show the people all of the improvement that I have been making with Ronnie Shields.”
After weighing twenty pounds heavier on fight night than the 166 lbs he weighed the day before at the official weigh in, one has to wonder how long Rodriguez can stay at the super middleweight division before moving up to light heavyweight. When asked about the weight gain and a possible move to light heavyweight Rodriquez said, “I was just hungry. I needed some rice and beans man and some platanos (laughing). 168 is the weight I want to make a statement and be a world champion at. If anything comes up at 175 I’m all for it but I’m making 168 comfortably.”
One could argue that Jason Escalera was probably a step back from Rodriguez’ previous two opponents: Don George and Will Rosinsky, but nevertheless Rodriguez did exactly what he was supposed to do and what most expected him to do. Are there still questions that need to be answered? Probably, but Rodriguez is willing and anxious to take it to the next level and continue on his path to achieving his goal of becoming a world champion. “I’ve been working for this since 2002 since I was an amateur. So this is not something that I just woke up eight weeks ago and said alright I’m going to work hard to beat this guy and be a world champion. This is something that ever since I turned pro step by step my manager has set up a strength and conditioning coach and a nutritionist and the best trainers at the time. I worked with Peter Manfredo, who is a great trainer offensively. My amateur coach was Carlos Garcia and now I’m working with one of the best trainers in boxing Ronnie Shields. We just keep making that improvement and keep trying to get better to accomplish my dreams and goals which are to become a world champion.”
With potential fights with former Middleweight Champion Kelly Pavlik and former Light Heavyweight Champion Jean Pascal being mentioned as possible opponents in the near future, Rodriguez will get that opportunity to prove that he is ready for the next level of opposition and the chance to get closer to his dream of becoming a world champion.