It’s countdown time for super-middleweight champion Andre Ward (26-0, 14 KOs) and Edwin Rodriguez (24-0, 16 KOs). In less than seventy-two hours, the two undefeated boxers will face each other at the Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario, California.
On Thursday morning, they got together for one more pre-fight press conference.
Lou Dibella, who promotes Rodriguez, praised Ward’s accomplishments.
He soon moved to his own fighter, the 28-year-old Rodriguez.
“Edwin’s not here just to appear, just to be tough, he’s here to win,” Dibello said. “He’s the strongest, youngest, hungriest fighter Andre Ward has fought, and that includes the Super Six Tournament.”
Soft spoken Ronnie Shields, who trains Rodriguez, thanked everyone for giving his charge the opportunity to fight Ward.
Ward’s trainer Virgil Hunter discussed his fighters’ style and character.
HustleBoss Video: More coverage from Ontario, California, as WBA super middleweight champion Andre Ward (26-0, 14 KO's) speaks to the media ahead of his Nov. 16 clash on HBO against undefeated challenge Edwin Rodriguez.
HustleBoss Video: Edwin Rodriguez goes in-depth about the challenge he faces in Andre Ward.
“He’s (Ward) not going to give you gimmicks, said Hunter. “He’s not going to give you one-liners that you expect from some of the athletes in today’s world. He’s just plain and simple the man. They say style makes fights, but we don’t have one style. We have five or six styles and Edwin’s going to have to adapt”.
Rodriguez wasted no time reminding everyone how eager he is to fight.
“I respect Andre Ward, he’s a good fighter,” Rodriguez said. “He’s accomplished a lot in the sport of boxing, winning the Super Six Tournament. But at the same time, I don’t respect him either. I’m ready to get in there. I know I have to wait until Saturday night, but I can’t wait to get inside that ring and punch this guy [Ward] in the face.”
Ward, 29, coolly explained his preparation for the bout.
“Everybody keeps on talking about how hungry he [Rodriguez] is, how he’s a hungry challenge,” said Ward. “Well I’m a hungry champion. I’ve been hearing a lot of talk from him and his coach, but while they’ve been talking, I’ve been working, I’ve been grinding. Come Saturday night, then we’ll talk. I’m locked in.”
As they posed for pictures, the two fighters jawed at each other.
Ward has something that Rodriguez wants.
All that’s left to do is fight.
The Ward vs. Rodriguez fight will be shown live on HBO World Championship Boxing® (10:00 p.m., ET/PT)
Please check back with www.doghouseboxing.com for my live updates and ringside reports from Ontario, California.
John J. Raspanti responds to all his emails. Please send all questions and comments to John at: firstname.lastname@example.org