By Eric Thomas: WBA super middleweight champion Andre Ward (26-0, 14 KO’s) says his right arm is stronger and he’s punching with more power with that hand after coming off of right shoulder surgery this year. Ward has hand many months to rehab his injury and work on strengthening his arm and he’s reportedly done such a good job that his arm is stronger than it was before the injury.
This could come in handy on Saturday night in Ward’s title defense against the unbeaten Edwin Rodriguez (24-0, 16 KO’s) at the Citizens Business Bank Arena, in Ontario, California, USA. Rodriguez is the type of opponent that can make it difficult for you due to his size and power.
“Now that it’s fixed, I have a lot more pop in this arm and I’m excited about it,” Ward told ESPN. “I’m excited to showcase it on Saturday. Even though it was a tough road back, I look at it like it was a positive to get that fixed finally. I never want to be off.”
Rodriguez likes to start fast and come out throwing bombs from the get go. But Rodriguez does adapt to his opponent, and if he’s facing someone with decent power that can give him problems, he goes totally into a boxing mode where he’s staying on the outside, jabbing and just focusing on winning by a 12 round decision.
It’s probable that Rodriguez will try this approach on Saturday night against Ward, because he’s not going to do well if he comes out swinging against Ward and giving him opportunities to counter him with shots. The real interesting part of this fight is what Rodriguez will attempt to do once Ward starts crowding him and looking to fight him in close. Will Rodriguez try and slug with Ward in close or will he move to the outside and attempt to jab him.
If Ward’s right hand is stronger from the surgery he’ll be a much better fighter, because his lack of right hand power has been the one flaw that he has in his game. He’s got a good left hook, and a nice jab, but he’s never had the right hand to go along with them. If Ward has a big right hand to go with his left hook, he’s going to give Rodriguez a lot of problems. I don’t think Rodriguez is going to be able to take Ward’s power for 12 rounds if he gets hit a lot in this fight.