By: William Holmes
Andre “Son of God” Ward (26-0) made his long awaited return to the boxing ring tonight against undefeated contender Edwin Rodriguez. Rodriguez came in two pounds overweight on Friday so Ward’s WBA Super Middleweight Title was no longer on the line.
Edwin “La Bamba” Rodriguez (24-0) gave up a portion of his purse, but the fight still went on as planned in Ontario, California. When Rodriguez missed weight he had two hours to try again to make weight, but he made no effort to make the super middleweight limit.
However, Rodriguez was forced to weigh in again today and he was required to weigh in under 180 pounds. Luckily for fight fans he made the second day weigh in limit.
Rodriguez was the first man to come into the ring and he was met with little fanfare. Andre Ward walked out second and he was greeted with more enthusiasm from the crowd than Rodriguez. However, it should be noted that there was a lot of empty seats in Citizens Bank Arena.
Rodriguez charged right at Andre Ward after the opening bell but missed his opening combination. They immediately clinched and Rodriguez threw some short body shots. It was clear that Rodriguez was trying to make the fight dirty and the crowd was booing the clinching going on inside the ring. Ward was able to land a good jab and a lead left hook near the end of the first round.
Mike Tyson joined the commentary crew in the second round. Ward’s “power jab” was beginning to land more regularly in the second round and his lead left hook was landing again. Rodriguez’s punches however were missing and he wasn’t as aggressive as he was in the first round.
Ward had a very good third round, as he began to land some hard jabs and a lead left hook. There were some good exchanges and at one point both fighters landed a solid hook. Ward was starting to win this fight on the inside by landing short hooks and combinations.
In the beginning of the fourth round, Ward somehow ended up in a guillotine hold from Rodriguez. The referee tried to break them up, but both fighters ignored the referee and threw punches. The refere, Jack Reiss, took two points away from Andre Ward and from Edwin Rodriguez for unsportsmanlike conduct and recommended a fine for the fighters.
After the melee in the fourth round Ward began to step up the offensive pressure. His left hand was landing almost at will and his punches were visibly effecting Rodriguez. Rodriguez was able to land some decent body punches in the fifth round, but Ward began to connect with more punishing combinations in the fifth and sixth rounds.
Andre Ward did look like he was trying to finish the fight in the sixth round.
Ward was becoming more accurate as the fight wore on and his jab was snapping the head of Ward backwards whenever it landed. Ward was also attacking the body more, and he was simply dominating the fight.
The last four rounds was Andre Ward simply dominating Edwin Rodriguez. He landed several hard left hooks and put together some solid body head combinations. Rodriguez did prove that he has a solid chin as he took a lot of punishment from Andre Ward.
Rodriguez needed a knockout in the last round to win, but he was unable to solve the riddle of Andre Ward. Rodriguez did suffer a cut over his left eye in the last round due to a head butt, and he never came close to even knocking Andre Ward down.
The judges scored it 118-106, 117-107, and 116-108 for Andre Ward.