When unbeaten prospect Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez steps into the ring Friday night to fight James McGirt for the vacant WBC USNBC super middleweight title on ShoBox: The New Generation, the dangerous Dominican boxer will be fighting for his most significant victory as a professional, as well as a major step forward towards a top 15 rating in one of the major boxing organizations.
The DiBella Entertainment-promoted show in Fargo, North Dakota, headlined by Rodriguez-McGirt, will air on SHOWTIME starting at 11 ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
“It’s special because the fight is on Showtime and everybody will be watching,” Rodriguez spoke about his first main event on a national network. “It’s a good feeling being in the main event on Showtime. I always want to be impressive, but I’m in the main event this time, so I need to take it to the next level.
“It’s hard not to think about where a win could put me, but I have McGirt in front of me and he’s a good fighter. You can’t look ahead in boxing and I’m not. I take ‘em one fight at a time. I don’t really care about rankings but I do know it can get me closer to where I want to be and that’s winning a world title.”
Rodriguez (16-0, 12 KOs), fighting out of Worcester (MA), prepped for Friday evening’s showdown sparring two weeks in Australia with middleweight Danny Geale (23-1, 14 KOs), who knocked out former IBF middleweight champion Roman Karmazin in the 12th round of their IBF eliminator fight last Sunday night. Rodriguez also regularly sparred Down Under with lefthander Jamie “Mr. Business” Pittman (19-2, 8 KOs), 2004 Australian Olympian, to prepare for the southpaw McGirt.
“I basically had world-class sparring every day for two weeks,” Rodriguez said. “Everything about it was great. It was their camp and we got up to run, then went to the gym to work-out, and then we sparred in the afternoon. It was a great feeling (going away to train for the first time), no worries, and I improved my skills. I didn’t stay in a hotel room by myself. I stayed with a family that had no ties to boxing. They were really good to me. When I wasn’t training, they took me to see the opera house, harbor-bridge and other places of interest. All-around Australia was a good time.”
McGirt (22-2-1, 11 KOs), trained by his father, 2-time world champion and former Trainer of the Year, James “Buddy” McGirt, has defeated Raymond Joval, Jason Naugler and Stephan Pryor.
Rodriguez, who is promoted by DiBella Entertainment, and McGirt have fought two common opponents, Brad Austin and Marcus Upshaw. Rodriguez knocked-out Austin in the third round and won each round (6) for a unanimous decision versus Upshaw; McGirt easily won an 8-round decision (80-70, 79-71, 79-71) against Austin but fought to a 10-round draw with Upshaw (94-94, 94-94, 93-95).
Representing a new breed of super middleweights, the 25-year-old Rodriguez is rated No. 4 by the NABF and NABO, while McGirt ranks No. 7 and No. 11, respectively.
“McGirt was a top 10 contender who has good boxing skills,” Edwin noted. “He has a good jab and good body attack. He’s been great in some fights, not so great in others. I need to win to get to the next level in this division.”
Born in the Dominican Republic, Edwin started boxing in 2001 and he developed into one of the top amateurs in the United States, compiling a solid 84-9 record, including gold-medal performances in the 2005 USA Boxing National Championships and 2006 U.S. National Golden Gloves Tournament. He became the first Massachusetts boxer to win the middleweight title at The Nationals since “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler in 1973.
Rodriguez has been using vicious body attacks to damage his most recent opponents. “I’ve always liked throwing body shots,” he explained, “I just didn’t focus on body punching as much as I do now. I used to throw to the body to set-up head shots. It’s different now – I throw head shots to set-up the body. I love the way they fall when I stop them with a body shot.”
Go online to www.edwinrodriguezboxing.com or www.dbe1.com for more information about Rodriguez
Since its inception in July 2001, the critically acclaimed SHOWTIME boxing series, ShoBox: The New Generation has featured young talent matched tough. The ShoBox philosophy is to televise exciting, crowd-pleasing and competitive matches while providing a proving ground for willing prospects determined to fight for a world title.