I didn’t even bother to watch the proceedings from Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California the other night. So irritated was I that Edwin Rodriguez (24-1, 16KOs) had blown the weight for his face-off with super middleweight champ Andre Ward (27-0 14KOs), I think I wanted to bite him.
Like, Mike Tyson bite him.
Apparently, he couldn’t stop or resist the urge to “bite” something himself on the heels of the biggest fight of his life. Whether that was home-cooked Beans n’ Rice, Wendy’s, Whataburger – or whatever- his 170lb weigh-in was despicable.
So, I opted to go see “Thor: The Dark World” instead, even though I wondered whether Andre had hammered his ass for a lack of vision.
It was the first thing I saw when I would wake.
Recalling how angry promoter Lou DiBella was about Rodriguez being over the calorie cap and the fact that he’d just signed with Al Haymon (who I’m gonna guess wasn’t happy), I started thinking about how livid Rodriguez might actually be with himself. He did, after all, engage in a very contentious and acrimonious press tour with Ward, and the negotiations produced bad blood. He had no respect for Andre Ward.
Rodriguez is the coyly irascible sort, and needled Ward about VADA testing, while downplaying him in general. The proud champion could not hide his disdain for Edwin Rodriguez, who I now expected to be a nasty and dirty fighter…
At the sound of the opening bell, Rodriguez kicked in Ward’s office door and started shoving things around. But the problem is, he didn’t know that Ward would calmly close the door and lock it. For every roughhouse tactic he employed; every elbow, low blow, head butt or shove, Ward was right there with something grimey in return.
It was a hybrid MMA/WWE affair for roughly 4 rounds, until Referee Jack Reiss nearly lost his mind –and a tooth- in the foul fest. I’ve never seen a ref not only dock both fighters 2 points in a round, but suggest an additional fine while seriously threatening to disqualify them both.
Ward, who may have been expected to show some rust or creeks in his game, appeared to have been sprayed with “WD-40” before the bout. He was classic Andre Ward, unveiling a measured, CEO-like spanking of a ring employee he would go on to fire before the holidays.
The ensuing rounds that followed were a clinic of cool efficiency, as Ward won every round on his way to a wide UD victory. Ever the thinker, and sensing his need to legitimize a path to becoming the universally regarded best fighter in the sport (I actually think he is), Andre had to see the mere 3,000 or so fans in seats (and many of them vacant), while knowing he needs to do more.
Enter Carl Froch.
Froch has famously ripped and dismissed Ward at every turn, even though he lost to him by a wide UD in Dec. 2011, and stated that Ward needs to “come see him” if the two do indeed meet again.
Not only should they meet again- Andre should go over to the UK and silence Froch in his backyard. Froch has a toughie coming up with George Groves. But should he win (and he should), this would be the right move for Andre next. He would make a substantial amount of money for doing this in front of a massive audience with a man in Froch who has appeared to have gotten better since he beat him. The man he’s chasing for the top spot, Floyd Mayweather, has made it a routine habit out of capitalizing on his opponents fan base for massive revenue. And Ward now seems keen on doing just that.
“I think I could stop Froch in a rematch,” Ward warned. “It’s funny when a guy says you’re boring but he had 12 rounds – 12 rounds – to make it interesting, to be the monster that he says that he is and get a war going,’ he added.
‘If you watch that fight I didn’t run, I didn’t duck, I didn’t dodge, I was right in the pocket with him. It was tougher than he thought it was going to be, so instead of giving me my just due he makes excuses.’
Meanwhile his trainer, the wise Virgil Hunter, has stated that he’d like to see Ward back in the ring early and often, taking a page out of middleweight boss Gennady “GGG” Golovkin’s fighting activity. He does not rule out a huge fight with Golovkin at some point, and said that if Andre can get back in the ring by Feb. or Mar. 2014 to “look out!”.
This was music to my ears.