By Dwight Harrison: The undefeated super-middleweight Andre “SOG” Ward 27-0-0 with 14 knockouts. Returned to the ring Saturday night in stunning fashion. As he shook of any notion that his 14 month layoff had any effect on his skills.
Ward showed he was a class above his opponent Edwin Rodriguez has he dominated the fight and won decisively on all three judges score-cards. The fight started as a scrappy affair.
There was a lot of holding and hitting, inside fighting and fighting even after the referee had broke them up. there was so much of these fouls that referee ended up taking two points of both fighters.
Following a melee in the 4th round after the referee had called for a break, the two fighters continued to exchange the referee was hit with a punch as he dove in to try and break the combatants up.
Ring rust had been talked about coming into the fight as a possible determining factor. A claim that was quickly put to rest as Andre landed clean eye catching shots all night.
As the fight began Edwin Rodriguez literally came running out of his corner and tried to land a big right hand and left hook both which Ward avoided, but the tone of the fight was set at that moment.
The rest of the first round was spent with the two men fighting on the inside with the referee.
Towards the end of the round Andre began landing his jab noticeably.
That punch would become a key weapon in the second round the power jab snapped Edwin’s head back on numerous occasions. There was still a lot off inside fighting rough clinching.
Holding and hitting from both but the jab was becoming frequent enough where ward was taking rounds of the back of his jab alone.Ward came out landing jabs to the body and head repeatedly.
Ward then for the first time in the fight unveiled his dangerous left hook and took his surgically repaired right shoulder for a workout, As Wards straight right was bought into the mix.
Edwin was being hit with regularity, maybe taking note that Rodriguez didn’t make weight.Andre switched his attack to the body for a sustained period.Edwin didn’t look very comfortable at the end of the third.
After taking such a volume of punches maybe that’s why in the forth round he went back to clinching and trying to bull rush Ward. As the referee yelled break urging the fighters to let go off each other.
They continued fighting in fact they opened up on each other more viciously then jumping in to break the action the referee caught a stray left hook for his troubles.
Visibly shaken the referee stopped the action asking for a minute as he’s been hit then he tells both fighters he’s not going to allow them to keep fighting like that.
The referee then proceeded to take two points of both fighters for unsportsmanlike conduct and asked for both fighters to be fined. Maybe the fear of being disqualified and fined got to the fighters.
The inside fighting was still there but it was a lot less frequent and Ward took advantage of the new found space by peppering his opponent with flush rights, lefts, jabs and body punching.
At the end of the fifth Edwin squared up to Ward after the bell. Not being one to back down Ward squared right back up to him forcing the referee to have to break them up again.
In the sixth Ward must have seen something or maybe the space he had benefited him because he began landing at will throwing combinations. And accurately landing most of the punches he was throwing.
The following rounds played out in similar fashion with Wards foot speed and timing being the difference as it allowed him to get in and out of range quickly. Andre Wards class at this point was clearly shining through.
At this point it was clear the much talked about rust from Wards 14 month lay off was irrelevant.
Ward is still one of the top two best fighters in the world and he was leagues above his opponent.
Getting in to the championship rounds Edwin was desperate clearly behind on the score-cards
he tried to get back to clinching and inside fighting with Ward.
But Ward was equal to everything at this point the most impressive thing was Rodriguez’s ability to take all this punishment. As a normal super-middleweight would have probably folded under that onslaught.
The 11th round is probably the slowest round of the fight Ward just throws enough punches to win the round maybe he’s slowing down a bit or more tired than usual because of inactivity.
Or Edwin’s light-heavy weight frame leaning on him for most of the fight. And in the 12th round both fighters looking tired went straight into a clinch and began trading phone-booth style.
During the tussling an accidental head-butt opened a nasty cut over Rodriguez’s left eye thankfully at this point it had no effect on the contest.
Ward had already out punched out fought and out classed Rodriguez at this point the judges awarded him the win with scores off 118-106 117-107 and 116-108.
Andre SOG Ward has reasserted himself as a great fighter king of the super-middleweight division heir to the pound for pound throne. We will be keenly watching as his career unfolds in front of us.