Andre Ward disarms "La Bomba" Rodriguez with unanimous decision win

November 17, 2013

Ontario, Calif. – In his return to the boxing ring after a fourteen-month layoff, Olympic gold medalist Andre Ward proved that his championship mettle remains intact.  Ward successfully defended his WBA Super Middleweight Championship in a 12-round bout against a hard-hitting opponent, the Dominican-born Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez.  The unanimous official scores from the judges were 118-106, 117-107, and 116-108.

Despite having beaten top fighters like the spirited Don George, knockout artist Jason Escalera, crafty Ezequiel Maderna, and the granite-chinned Denis Grachev, Rodriguez (24-1, 16KO’s) still could not figure out how to stifle the greatness of Ward (27-0, 14KO’s).

Although he came into the fight two pounds overweight and held a weight advantage over Ward, it did not matter.  In fact, it might have irked Ward and made him more determined.

“I think it’s very disrespectful for Edwin to not make weight," said Ward. "It was a Championship bout.  He should have taken this much more seriously."

A formidable undefeated challenger, Rodriguez confidently entered the 9,500-seat Citizens Business Bank Arena, to a welcoming crowd that included boxing greats Bobby Chacón, Rodolfo Gato Gonzalez, Sugar Ray Leonard, Mike Tyson, and HBO commentator Roy Jones Junior.

At the start of the bell in Round One, Rodriguez bull-rushed straight at Ward, which quickly excited the crowd and set the tone with a round that saw constant holding from each fighter.

In Round Two, La Bomba picked up the pace, looking for the knockout blow. Ward answered with a hard straight left jab, and then kept using his jab while working in a combination.  At one point, Ward timed and measured a magnificent left jab on Rodriguez, bringing the crowd on its feet.  All La Bomba could do was hold.

The referee kept reminding Rodriguez to back up off of Ward and fight.  Round Two ended with a body shot combo from Ward, sending a troubled Rodriguez back to his corner.

During the early rounds, the “Son of God,” as Ward is known, continued to connect with his left jab on Rodriguez.  Rodriguez resorted yet again to holding, and then began wildly swinging, hoping to randomly connect.

Ward landed a blow to the head of Rodriguez, and briefly took him to the ropes.  They exchanged several solid hooks and wowed the crowd.

Then things became really interesting.

Ten seconds into Round Four, both fighters exchanged headlocks, seemingly wanting to tackle each other.  Referee Jack Reiss stepped in to break up the pair, but couldn’t do so right away, and received an inadvertent forearm to the face.

After eventually separating the pair, the referee sent both fighters to separate corners.  The fight was stopped for nearly one minute before the referee deducted two points from each fighter and warned them about a potential disqualification.

From that point forward, the holding and wrestling slowly decreased and Ward's dominance increased even more.

In Round Five, Ward opened up with a straight right, then followed with a vicious onslaught of combinations on Rodriguez, again and again.

Round Six picked up where Round Five ended, as Ward landed combinations on Rodriguez continuously.

This pattern would continue throughout the fight, as Ward displayed patience with his straight jab and then unleashed furious combinations.  Rodriguez would wildly respond with looping shots, but those punches proved ineffective.

Ultimately, despite his competitive spirit, Rodriguez was no match for Ward's superior boxing skills or his stiff left jab.

"I was not able to figure him out today," said Rodriguez.  "His jab was a problem for me."

Ward proved Saturday night that he has fully recovered from his shoulder operation, so the logical question for him would be, who is next?

Having beaten so many of the fighters currently in his division, Ward took a moment to address one fighter he has yet to face -- Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

"That kid can fight," said Ward.  "I think that fight would be tough for me."

By  Félix I. Hernández
Contributing Writer for TheDailySportsHerald.Com

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