After 14 months away from the sport, one of the top pound-for-pound talents in boxing is set to make his return to the squared circle TONIGHT (Sat., Nov. 16, 2013) when undefeated WBA champion Andre Ward takes on fellow unbeaten Edwin "La Bomba" Rodriguez at Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario, California.
MMAmania will have LIVE coverage of "Ward vs. Rodriguez," starting with the HBO broadcast at 10 p.m. ET.
After dominating Showtime's Super Six tournament with ease, Ward (26-0) jumped ship to rival HBO, where he earned the most impressive win of his career in a 10-round mauling of then-ruler of the 175-pound division, Chad Dawson. He had previously earned "Fighter of the Year" in 2011 thanks to defeats of Arthur Abraham and Carl Froch despite breaking his hand in the latter.
Because of various issues, this will be just his second fight in nearly two years. And it has been relegated to a non-title match because Rodriguez was unable to make the contracted weight limit.
Rodriguez likewise earned his biggest win yet his last time out, crushing former Light Heavyweight titlist Denis Grachev in a single round this past July. He has kept considerably more active than his opponent, fighting three times since the last time Ward stepped into the ring.
"WARD VS. RODRIGUEZ" QUICK RESULTS:
Super Middleweight: Andre Ward def. Edwin Rodriguez by unanimous decision (118-106, 117-107, 116-109)
"WARD VS. RODRIGUEZ" PLAY-BY-PLAY RESULTS:
Andre Ward vs. Edwin Rodriguez
Round one: They clinch immediately; both men highly aggressive at close-range. Rodriguez initiates the clinch and chisels a bit before the ref separates them. Another clinch. Again, Edwin landing wider shots while Ward sneaking short blows inside his guard. Yet another clinch, with Edwin digging two shots to the body. Ward lands a jab before the next clinch. Ward digs in a pair of body shots before Edwin wraps him up. Rodriguez lands a jab and they lock up again. Edwin walks him to the ropes before they separate. Good exchange inside. Ward snaps out the jab to good effect. Jab exchange, clinch. Ward catches him with a left as Rodriguez lands a body blow. Bell. 10-9 Rodriguez.
Round two: Ward takes center ring, Edwin ties him up as he advances. More chiseling work from Edwin. Clinch, repeat. Again. Ward doubles up with the left and moves into the clinch. Good left from Ward, nice inside work by Rodriguez. Stiff jab connects again for Andre. Clinch, Rodriguez rips to the body. Ward to the head. Clinch again, Rodriguez to the body. Left hook from Ward on the exit Rodriguez walking Ward down but eats a counter hook. Clinch. Rodriguez winging wide shots, takes a jab to the body and clinches. Rodriguez now jabs the body. Questionably-legal shot from Rodriguez in the clinch. Double jab, Ward slams hooks into the body and head before the bell. 19-19.
Round three: Ward with a pair of counter jabs. One to the body. Nice hook inside. Ward lands a stiff shot to the head of Ward, Rodriguez ties him up and they trade short blows. Nice jab from Edwin. Ward leaps in with a left hook that's blocked; they briefly tie up before Ward lands a big left hook on the exit. Another clinch, more word from both. Ward beginning to do the better work in the clinch. Big hooks from both, Ward's landing better. Rodriguez lands a jab, takes a shot to the body before they clinch. Ward digs downstairs and clubs away in the clinch. Edwin with a jab. Ward with some chipping blows to the head in close. Ward sneaks in a left hook before the bell and nearly eats a big one from Edwin. One last left to end the round, 29-28 Ward.
Round four: Quick clinch, Edwin doing well in it. They start to whack each other and completely ignore the ref in favor of smashing each other on the break. Edwin hits the ref with a left hook in the process. He shows amazing patience and merely gives each fighter a patient lecture and then deducts two points from each and recommends that they be fined. Rodriguez walking forward on the break, lands some short blows. Big one-two from Ward and they return to bastard-fighting in the clinch. Rodriguez warned for rabbit punches. Ward lands a good jab. Clinch with much less violence. Good jab from Ward. Body shot by Edwin. Big counter straight and left to the body inside by Andre. Two good body blows before the next clinch. Ward digging to the body with authority when they tie up. Big straight by Ward. Edwin taunts him after blocking a combo. Left hook connects for Ward. Stiff jab; Edwin immobile in the corner, lands a jab. There's the bell; 37-35 Ward.
Round five: Ward immediately lands a right straight. Ward lands another right. Clinch. Another good right by Ward. Ward works in the clinch with rights downstairs. BIG left hook by Ward amidst the short trades to the body. Nice jab by Ward, nice right to the body by Edwin. Good sequence of lefts upstairs by Andre. Nice hooks inside from both, clinch. Ward comes in with yet another good left. Rodriguez body shot connects. Ward's left hook is money, although he eats a swatting right hook. Ward lands a combo and then another good left. Rodriguez answers a stiff jab with a body shot. Bell, 47-44 Ward.
Round six: Quick tie-up, Ward chips away to the body. Good three-shot combination by Ward. Another combination ending with a left hook to the head. Powerful step-in jab. Another good jab; Rodriguez's defense can't handle it. Combination slips through. Now Edwin lands a jab, but takes a left hook. Ward to the body. Edwin with a right hook downstairs and a lead straight. They trade jabs, Ward hits much harder. Nice uppercut inside, then a body blow. Jab to the body. Edwin's jab gets through, so does Ward's lead straight. Jab exchange, swatting right by Edwin. All Ward so far, 57-53.
Round seven: Ward lands a lead left hook after some brief feeling-out. Big one-two, clinch. Clinch, both men do work. Good jab snaps Edwin's head back; both land rights inside. Rodriguez whiffs on a big left hook. Clinch. Ward snaps out the jab and steps in with a hard left straight and right cross on the exit. Rodriguez sneaks in some solid body shots. Ward getting in and out with body blows well. Clubbing left hook from Ward. Bell, 67-62 Ward.
Round eight: Ward on the front foot. Slow first thirty seconds. Ward steps in with three shots. Rodriguez lands a hard body hook and right uppercut in the clinch. They tie up yet again. Ward with a check left and another snapping jab. Rodriguez clubs him in close with a left. Ward lead right leads to the clinch. Ward continues with that powerful three-punch sequence. Ward's jab working well on the outside. A powerful one snaps Edwin's head back. Right to the body, left up top. Ward left hook, Rodriguez right at the bell. 77-71 Ward.
Round nine: Ward clinches as Rodriguez advances, connects with a good uppercut and hook at close range. Right to the body from Andre, body jab by Edwin. Ward enters the clinch with a jab and lands another uppercut. Solid left hook by Ward. Another. Ward enters the clinch with a big jab, can't do much before they separate. Ward follows two body shots with a big left hook upstairs. Ward winning on the outside and inside; Rodriguez's clean shots can be counted on one hand. Ward comes in with another hard left. Hard right hook on the exit. Another step-in jab into the clinch. Bell, 87-80 Ward.
Round ten: Clinch. Ward steps in with a four-piece mix to the body and head with good success. Body hooks by Andre. Double jab. Clinch, clubbing blows by Ward. Left hook inside, right straight to the gut. Body jab, left hook to the head. Rodriguez gets in a jab. Wide right from Rodriguez is deflected. Rodriguez lands a good step-in left hook and eats two gigantic hooks by Ward when he tries to flurry. Rodriguez unfazed and requests more. Clinch. Ward leaps in with another good hook before the round ends.97-89 Ward.
Round eleven: Ward bounces a flurry off of Rodriguez's guard. Rodriguez left hook connects, Ward responds with a body-head duo. Rodriguez lands some clubbing blows up-and downstairs. Rodriguez enters the clinch with body shots. Left hook for Ward. Edwin with a slapping right int he clinch. Ward steps in with a powerful jab. Rodriguez lands some clubbing rights in the clinch. Ward with a three-piece combo. Ward jabs the body, gets punched in the back of the head. Brief clinch. Rodriguez to the body, clinch. Brief exchanges inside, bell. 107-98 Ward.
Round twelve: They immediately clinch up and chisel away. Ward comes in with a right low and left high, clinch. Ward with a lead right and back to the clinch. Rodriguez giving as good as he gets inside. Ward finishes a combo with a left hook upstairs. Clinch. Ward again leads with a powerful left hook, Edwin ties him up. Headbutt opens a bit cut under Rodriguez's left eyebrow; bad spot, but they continue. More whacking in the clinch, Rodriguez finding some success with his right. Big left hook by Ward into the clinch. Another clinch, no violence. Ward stops him in his tracks with a jab, lands another left and ties up. Ward lands a HUGE left hook that Rodriguez takes like it's nothing. Clinch. Another clinch. Fight ends; utter domination by Ward. 117-107 Ward.
Final result: Ward def. Rodriguez by unanimous decision