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Interview

“La Bomba” Ready for McGirt

Interview by Scott Ploof; Photos by Emily Harney

Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez (16-0, 12 KOs) has the super middleweight division on notice.  After going undefeated in his first sixteen professional fights, stopping twelve of them along the way, Rodriguez has displayed a lot of power and boxing ability in his very active, almost three year career.  On November 5th, “La Bomba” will once again fight on “ShoBox: The New Generation” but this time in the main event of the evening in quite possibly his biggest test to date when he takes on James “Buddy” McGirt Jr. (22-2-1, 11 KOs) at the Scheels Arena, Fargo, North Dakota.

Earlier this week, FightNews had an opportunity to speak with Rodriguez about his career, the fight, and his future.

Who or what inspired you to start fighting professionally?

It was 1998 or 1999,  it was Oscar De La Hoya against Ike Quartey, and it was the first fight I had ever seen and I had never seen anything like it.  It took me a few years to get into boxing. I started training in 2002. My father never wanted me to get into boxing and stuff, but I convinced him.

Photos by Emily Harney

How did you convince him?

I went down to the Boys Club one time after I said that I will fight, and the trainer liked me. What happened was I had gotten into a fight with my older brother and I beat him up, so my father wouldn’t let me go down there.  A few years later my amateur coach, Carlos Garcia, came down to my school at the time, and I said, “Coach, I would really love to go back to boxing, but my father won’t let me.  I had a little issue with my brother.”  At the time my father owned a convenience store, a little Spanish market.  So he went into the convenience store and spoke to my father, the very next day I was in the gym everyday.

After compiling an outstanding amateur career (84-9), including a Golden Gloves championship in 2006, what do you feel are the best attributes that you bring with you into the ring?

I have a good jab, but it would have to be my body punches and my power.

Some have compared your body work to that of the legendary “Irish” Micky Ward.

(Sounding surprised) Wow, that is a big compliment.

What has, in your opinion, been your most memorable fight to date and why?

That has to be the Kevin Engel fight because he hit me with one good shot that hurt me a bit and I was able to come back from that adversity and knock him out a few rounds later.

Is Engel the first fighter in your opinion that has really tested you?

To be honest with you, he only tested me because he caught me with a good shot in the right place, but other than that, I feel that I had controlled the whole fight.  The guy that has tested me the most to date is Darnell Boone.  He is a guy that knocked down Andre Ward down when Andre only had seven fights, and he is the only guy that has done it.  So I believe he was my toughest fight, he was just a slick professional.  He was there the whole fight, but I was winning every round, but he was there.  That is the guy that has tested me the most.

You stopped Ibahiem King (7-3, 2 KOs) at Mechanics Hall in your hometown of Worcester, MA.  What was it like fighting in front of your friends and family?

It was a great feeling.  Ibahiem King was a professional.   He was a little green and young but he came to fight and just like a professional he was ready.  He did not have too much of a notice because the opponent I was supposed to fight that night backed out at the last minute so he stepped up and came in great shape.  He put up a great fight.  I believe I ended up hitting him with a left hook that hurt him and then after that I just stayed on top of him.  He was a professional.

You have compiled a stellar undefeated record in sixteen professional fights, knocking out twelve of them along the way.  What do you feel has been the key to your success thus far?

My ability to stay focused and take things one fight at a time.  Just to stay focused and be determined to be the best.

Do you consider yourself to be a power puncher?

I have power in both hands, but I feel that I can do anything a boxer can do.  I can box, I can hit well to the body and bring it up to the head as well.  I am a very versatile fighter.  I can fight on the inside as well as on the outside.  Most of the time I choose to fight on the inside as I feel more comfortable.  It depends on who I am fighting against.  I like to win and I can make whatever changes are needed to win the fight. I am a smart fighter as well. I am not just a strong fighter. I like to think in there.  I love playing chess.  It is just like a chess game, you have to stay ahead of your opponent mentally and also physically you got to beat em down.  I believe my strength is my mind.

This Friday you are taking on your biggest test to date when you take on James McGirt Jr. (22-2-1, 11 KOs).  What do you know about McGirt?

I know everything that there is to know.  He is a great fighter and he is a really good boxer some days.  Other days he is just average.  There is a day if he shows up he is a world beater.  That is what I am ready for.  I am ready for the best McGirt.  I hope he shows up because if the average McGirt shows up, he is going to get hurt.  So I am ready for whatever he brings to the table.  I have to prepare for the best McGirt that I have seen and he is a good fighter, a slick boxer, has a really good jab, and good head movement.  But like I say, we will see which McGirt shows up.  If he doesn’t show up that night, he is going to get knocked out.

How do you think you two matchup in terms of boxing styles?

I think that it is going to be a very interesting fight because one thing about me, I don’t like to have boring fights, and he does.  It is not going to be a boring fight.  I am going to bring the fight to him at some points.  He is just one of those fighters that feels comfortable going at their own pace and dictating the pace of the fight. For the first few rounds its going to be about who is going to dictate the fight. That is a battle that I do not plan on losing.

This is not your first time on “ShoBox.”  Is there any added pressure to perform in front of a national television audience, does it motivate you to fight better?

It actually motivates me to fight better, train harder, and eat better.  I am not only fighting on television again but I am also fighting in the main event on TV.  I am fighting a name fighter that was a prospect at one time and was also a top ten contender in the middleweight division, so there is a lot of pressure but this is what we do.  This is why we fight.  We love to put on a show and give the fans what they paid to watch.  I am just excited.  I am excited to be able to be there with a good boxer and show the world how much better I am.

In preparation for this fight, how did the opportunity come about for you to travel to Australia to be a chief sparring partner for Danny Geale (24-1, 15 KOs)?

To be honest with you, it just came up in a Facebook message.  Four days later I flew out to Australia and it was a great opportunity.  Sparring with Danny Geale took me to a whole different level.  I felt what an elite fighter hits like.  I had some experience before I went in there.  I just learned a lot being in a camp with those guys. We used to run together, there were like seven professional boxers and we all would wake up early and run together.  We would then have a boxing workout, then at 3:30 we would have sparring sessions.  It really helped me out a lot because it not just running and training, it was kind of like a team and it was a well put together team and a well put together routine.  Just getting your body in the same routine everyday.  Those guys had a great camp over there I was able to learn a lot.  I also sparred with Jamie Pittman (20-2, 8 KOs) who is a 2004 Olympian southpaw who gave me great work.  All of those guys are fighting on Saturday and I wish them all the best.  Great people, I went to Australia all by myself and came back with a family over there because everybody is very, very laid back and it was a great country.

Editor’s Note:  Geale beat Roman Karmazin this past Saturday (October 31) in an IBF eliminator.  He will fight the winner of the on October 31. Geale will challenge IBF middleweight champion Sebastian Sylvester for the title in 2011.

You have said that you are being treated like a king while in Australia.  Tell us about your experience there?

I was treated really well like I said.  I just fit in really good with everyone in Australia.  Everyone in the gym treated me well, I treated them with respect.  When you treat someone with respect, you get the same respect back.  That is what I did.  I treated everyone with respect like they were my family and at the end of the day we became a family.  I am back home now and I miss those guys and I miss working out with those guys.  I was staying with a family instead of staying in a hotel.  I got really comfortable with them, they were very laid back just like myself, very nice people.  Everything about that experience was just great.  They took me around and showed me all around and I had a good time but at the same time I worked like an animal so I am just ready.  I am focused.  This is what we wanted ever since we turned professional and this is a great opportunity now and we are not going to let it go by without a fight.

What do you learn from your experience in Australia?

Boxing wise there were a lot of different things that we worked on.  They bring a different mentality to the game and its not like I learned the secret punch or anything like that but seeing the way that they work together, and how they have a really legit routine where it happens everyday the same thing.  It is good to see an elite level camp.

Having stopped your last four opponents in six rounds or less, do you feel that you will be ready to go the full ten rounds?

If you seen McGirt’s fights, he is a good fighter for the whole fight so I have to.  I am prepared, I have worked ten rounds over there a few times with an elite fighter.  Hell ya I am ready.  I just don’t think he is going to, if he decides to fight me, he won’t last the full ten rounds.  I am ready for ten rounds and more.

Do you have a prediction for this fight?

I do but I am not going to throw it out there. (Edwin laughing)

How far away do you think we are from fighting for a world title?

Honestly, every fight that I have fought has been a learning experience.  I think fighting a contender like McGirt is going to take me to a new level experience wise and also in my confidence.  I would say like two to three fights after this one, I believe I will have learned more and be ready to challenge one of the guys for a title.  Hopefully six months to a year.

Do you have any other words for your fans at FightNews?

Thank you for all of the support and you guys are going to get a knockout!   Awww……..I just gave you the prediction, but I am not going to tell you what round!

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It is a tripleheader of new wave super middleweights this Friday when “ShoBox:  The New Generation” presents the hottest, toughest and the best in 168-pound division.

Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez (16-0, 12 KOs) battles James McGirt (22-2-1, 11 KOs) in the main event for the vacant WBC USNBC super middleweight title.

In the co-feature, Dyah Davis (18-1, 9 KOs) meets Aaron Pryor Jr. in an eight-round battle plus  Marcus “Too Much” Johnson (19-0, 14 KOs) is looking to keep his perfect record intact when he takes on Kevin “The Hitman” Engel (18-3, 15 KOs) in an eight-round affair.

“ShoBox: The New Generation” will showcase this fantastic tripleheader of new wave super middleweights on SHOWTIME starting at 11 ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).




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