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Andre Ward signs bout agreement to fight Edwin Rodriguez on November 16th

By Scott Gilfoid: Super middleweight Andre Ward (26-0, 14 KO’s) is saying that he signed his bout agreement for a fight against unbeaten ##1 WBC, #3 WBA, 3 IBF, #6 WBO, Edwin Rodriguez (24-0, 16 KO’s) on November 16th on HBO. There still isn’t a venue for the fight yet, but Dan Rafael is saying that the fight won’t take place in Ward’s home city of Oakland, California.

Rodriguez is the opponent that HBO wanted Ward to fight. I guess Rodriguez brings in good ratings for HBO or something, because he’s not that great of a fighter. It’s a step down from Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler for Ward in taking this fight, but it looks like Ward didn’t have much choice because HBO shot down his attempts at setting up fights against Stanyslav Kastanov and Dimitri Sartison.

Those were two perfectly reasonable contenders, and pretty much the same as Ward fighting Rodriguez. I don’t see much difference between Rodriguez and those guys other than Rodriguez being easier to hit because of his bad habit of throwing looping shots that leaves his head wide open for straight punches.

Ward hasn’t fought since destroying Chad Dawson last year in September in a 10th round TKO. Ward has been planning on fighting Kelly Pavlik, but that fight fell apart when Ward suffered a shoulder injury while training for the fight. The injury was bad enough to where Ward needed surgery to fix the problem, and that has kept him out of the ring for ages.

Rodriguez, 28, is coming off of a 1st round knockout win over light heavyweight Denis Grachev to capture the Monte-Carlo Million Dollar Super Four. The opposition in the 4-fighter tournament was God awful and it didn’t prove much of anything that Rodriguez won the tournament because pretty much everyone were guys that were more fringe contenders that top guys. Rodriguez also beat little known Argentinian Ezequiel Maderna in the tourney.

After Ward destroys Rodriguez on November 16th, I hope Ward can get some decent fights because the super middleweight division is pretty dried up of talent. Froch seems to be heading towards retirement in a year or two, and he hasn’t seemed eager to face Ward again after getting beaten by him in 2011.

I don’t see Kessler ever agreeing to fight Ward ever again after getting dominated by him in 2009. As far as George Groves and James DeGale go, I don’t see them ever facing Ward either; at least not while he’s still young and good. Ward may have to move up to the light heavyweight division if he wants to get fights because the super middleweight division has turned into a ghost town.

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