by Eric Thomas: WBA super middleweight champion Andre Ward (27-0, 14 KO’s) proved to be a much better fighter both offensively and defensively than Edwin Rodriguez (24-1, 16 KO’) in beating him by an impressive one-sided 12 round unanimous decision on HBO. Ward ended up landing 217 of 526 punches for a 41 percent connect percentage. Rodriguez was only able to land 85 of 389 punches for a 22 percent connect percentage.
The fans at the Citizens Business Bank Arena, in Ontario, California, saw a pretty good fight with Ward showing despite the one-sided nature of it. Rodriguez is a good fighter, but Ward was just so good that he made him look ordinary by the way that Ward was able to completely nullify Rodriguez’s considerable offensive skills. No one has done that to Rodriguez before, and it’s probable that no one will be able to do that to him again in the future unless Rodriguez faces WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson. Rodriguez will be moving up to the 175 lb. division now and there’s a possibility that he could run into Stevenson in the future.
Rodriguez looked dangerous at all times even in the 12th round. His power was formidable and he seemed to be loading up on everything he threw. His problem was that Ward did a great job of moving his head and staying just out of range of his big shots. Rodriguez’s connect percentage would have gone up if he had stopped loading up on everything. His trainer Ronnie Shields kept asking Rodriguez to throw more punches and to stop trying to land a knockout punch with every throw, but he didn’t seem to follow any of Shield’s instructions in the fight.
Rodriguez might as well have had someone mindlessly giving him water and oiling up his face in between rounds, because he wasn’t doing any of the things that his trainer asked him to round after round. As Ward said afterwards, Rodriguez looked like he was trying to get lucky and land one big punch to get a KO. Rodriguez did land some big shots in every round, but he wasn’t able to put enough of the punches together to get Ward in any kind of trouble.
Rodriguez has power, but he’s not a huge puncher in the class of Carl Froch or Mikkel Kessler. That’s why it didn’t really make a lot of sense for him to be out there looking to hurt Ward. Rodriguez came into the fight mostly known for his boxing ability, and he seemed to get away from that in this fight by looking for a KO. It could be that he felt that he couldn’t win a decision over Ward, and that may be true. but Rodriguez would have been better off if he used his jab and thrown combinations when he was in close range. Shields kept begging Rodriguez to use his jab, but he wouldn’t do it.
In the 4th round, Rodriguez and Ward got into a scuffle after Rodriguez put Ward into a tight headlock and preceded to walk him around the ring in that fashion without letting go. The referee Jack Reiss broke them up but he got clipped with a grazing left hook in the process, and this angered him enough to take points away from both fighters.
Rodriguez may have lost the fight, but he got the biggest payday of his career in collecting $800,000. He lost another $200,000 for failing to make weight. In hindsight, Rodriguez should have done whatever he needed to do in order to lose the weight, because he really didn’t have much of a chance to win the fight anyway. I suppose he felt he didn’t want to drain himself any further in losing the last two pounds because he thought he had a chance to win the fight. I’m sure Rodriguez now wishes he had lost the weight because he’d be $200,000 richer today.