Yesterday after Edwin Rodriguez weighed in at 170 pounds and failed to make weight for his scheduled WBA Super Middleweight title fight challenge of Andre Ward tonight, the cries of unprofessionalism flooded the internet message boards. Rodriguez was heavily criticized and vilified for failing to make the weight, and consequently tonight’s bout will no longer be a title fight. Rodriguez will also have to forfeit twenty percent of his one million dollar purse with one hundred thousand going to Ward and one hundred thousand going to the California State Athletic Commission.
Let me make it clear. I am not advocating a fighter not making the weight limit for a contracted weight in a professional boxing match, but why is Rodriguez is being thrown under the bus and just five months ago when Mikey Garcia failed to make weight for his WBO Featherweight Title defense against former champion Juan Manuel Lopez, he was given a pass? Why is it that people claimed that Garcia just outgrew his weight class but Rodriguez allegedly didn’t even try to make weight?
Let us not forget that just four months ago Rodriguez scored a first round knockout over Denis Grachev in a fight that was contracted at a 171.5 lb catch weight, so he had to come down in weight for his fight with Ward tonight with not much time in between fights. Ward has been off for fourteen months which gave him plenty of time to recuperate his body and prepare for this fight despite the long layoff.
Just like Garcia, Rodriguez has never had a history of not making weight for any of his previous fights, unlike fighters like Joan Guzman and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. who have been over many times in the past by several pounds.
I disagree with the notion that Rodriguez intentionally didn’t try to make weight for this fight and willingly gave up $200,000 in fines and his shot to win his first world title. I believe that when he signed the contract, he had every intention of making the 168 lb weight limit but in the end just realized that he couldn’t do it. In my opinion there has been no evidence thus far in his career to suggest otherwise.
Rodriguez looked as lean as can be yesterday at the weigh in and appeared to be in good shape. Judging by the look of his physique it would seem that he has trained hard in his preparation for this fight. The way I see it, in my opinion, I don’t feel that Rodriguez could have lost anymore weight without severely comprising his physical health. I believe that he chose to do the right thing by paying the fine and relinquishing the chance to win his first world title by not putting any undue stress on his body in an attempt to squeeze off those last two pounds. Title or no title, a win over Ward would greatly catapult Rodriguez’ career forward and set things up nicely for him at light heavyweight. Even if he doesn’t win, but still makes a good account of himself tonight, those big fights at light heavyweight will still be waiting for him.