|Disaster for La Bomba on the scale|
He was supposed to anyway.
Rodriguez tipped the scales at 170 pounds, two pounds over the division limit, and his inability to make weight cost him a cool $200,000 - a cash settlement that was shared evenly by the California State Athletic Commission and Ward, who did weigh in under the limit at 167.8 pounds.
Rodriguez, along with the hefty penalty, also forfeited the right to contest for the world title and his promoter Lou DiBella could not contain his disappointment: "I truly believe in him as a fighter and that he had a chance to do something great. Now he's in a situation where he can't win the belt, and he's been docked money his family desperately needed and I have a hard time believing he will be at his best. I have empathy if he simply couldn't make the weight but that doesn't change the annoyance or disappointment or stop me from saying I'm sorry on behalf of his team to Ward, Ward's team, HBO and to the fans."
It came as a shock to many, including myself, but maybe it shouldn't have. His last outing, an impressive first round knockout of the highly touted Denis Grachev, was contested at a catchweight of 171.5 pounds and was perhaps a tell tale sign of things to come. In many cases, a fighter will simply grow out of a division and having made his debut at 162 pounds over five years ago, maybe he can be forgiven. Or maybe not. It was unprofessional, borderline disrespectful, however out of character it may have seemed for him. After weighing in at 179.8 pounds at 9AM on Saturday morning, a fraction under the 180 pound limit that was agreed upon earlier, the Pride of Worcester, MA was cleared to fight.
|Ward dismantles La Bomba|
Ward was being modest.
Rodriguez showed intent in the first round and launched an immediate attack upon Ward as the opening bell sounded. It looked, for a moment at least, that the size and willingness of Rodriguez could make things interesting. It was short lived. Ward punctuated the round with a shot that drew a reaction from the crowd and he took control of the fight from that point. The second round saw Ward establish the jab and he snapped the head of Rodriguez back at will over the course of the fight. As Ward found a rhythm, he began to land big left hooks as he varied his attack behind an educated, snapping jab that Rodriguez found unavoidable. Ward was beginning to show why he is a pound-for-pound #1 in the making.
|Reiss sorts out the strange situation|
|Rodriguez's chin stood up to Ward's left hook|
The result was beyond doubt as the final bell tolled and all three judges scored the bout in favor of Ward.
The official scores were 118-106, 117-107 and 116-108. I scored the contest 117-108 for KO Digest.
Rodriguez is good but Ward is great. The Son of God's ability to hit, and not be hit whilst dictating the pace of the contest is something to marvel at. It is a pity that a small crowd of only 4,000 or so spectators were in attendance to witness it.
KO Digest Ringside Report by Terry Strawson