By Scott Gilfoid: WBA super middleweight champion Andre Ward (26-0, 14 KO’s) says that unbeaten, #1 WBC, #3 WBA, #3 IBF, #6 WBO, Edwin Rodriguez (24-0, 16 KO’s) wants $1 million plus in order for Ward to face him in what would be pretty much little more than a high caliber tune-up bout on HBO. Ward says his team already gave Rodriguez a perfectly reasonable offer, which wasn’t far from what Rodriguez’s team wants, but it was turned down. Rodriguez won’t get the $1 million plus that he’s asking for, says Ward.
Ward told RingTV “We put up a number, and the number is more than Rodriguez made in his last fight, and it’s more than he’s made in his whole career, and it’s a good number. But his team is asking for $1 million plus, and that’s just not going to happen.”
I’m hearing that HBO is putting up a little more than $3 million for the fight, so if Rodriguez’s team wants more than $1 million, it could come out to almost a 50-50 fight. The heck with that. I don’t blame Ward for being turned off that request. I’d walk away too. It’s not as if Rodriguez has ever won a world title before, and it’s not like he’s ever faced anyone that you could truly call a good fighter.
If Rodriguez had beaten the likes of Lucian Bute, Sakio Bika, and the Dirrell brothers, I could understand him asking for parity in the negotiations, but he’s just a challenger. He should take whatever is offered from Ward, and be thankful he’s getting that.
HBO is the one that really wants to see Ward fight Rodriguez. If they would just wise up and realize it’s a total mismatch, they could then point Ward in the direction of someone that can put up a better fight, and would be easier to arrange a fight with. Rodriguez looked almost amateurish in his recent win over Denis Grachev last July. Had that been Ward in there instead of Grachev, Rodriguez would have been spitting teeth.
Rodriguez was throwing widest shots I’ve ever seen a fighter throw, but Grachev didn’t have the presence of mind to keep his left arm high to pick off the looping shots, and to come in with straight right hands to the head. It was terrible to watch Rodriguez. If HBO wants to point Ward in the directions of fighters that he can destroy, I think they could do a much better job than this. It wouldn’t be a fight between Rodriguez and Ward.
I see Rodriguez as being no more than $50,000 opponent at best, and I’m being kind here. No way is he worth the offer that Ward gave him. Ward needs to move on, and quit wasting his time. If HBO keeps trying to peddle a Rodriguez fight then let them come up with some more money for Ward.