Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez says with all the confidence in the world that if he had never moved from Moca, Dominican Republic, to Worcester, Mass., at the age of 13, he’d probably be starting in the middle infield for a Major League Baseball team right now. Baseball was his first love, like so many kids from the Dominican Republic. But he found boxing at the age of 16 and after an outstanding amateur career, Rodriguez (16-0, 12 KOs) finds himself in the toughest fight of his young career when he faces James McGirt Jr. (22-2-1, 1 NC, 11 KOs) in the main event of a super middleweight tripleheader on ShoBox: The New Generation this Friday, Nov. 5, LIVE on SHOWTIME® (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast).
The 10-round main event will take place at Scheels Arena in Fargo, N.D. and be promoted by DiBella Entertainment.
In the co-feature, Dyah Davis (18-1, 9 KOs) of Boca Raton, Fla., meets Aaron Pryor Jr., (14-2, 11 KOs) of Cincinnati, in an eight-round battle while Houston’s Marcus “Too Much” Johnson (19-0, 14 KOs) seeks to keep his perfect record intact when he takes on Kevin “The Hitman” Engel (18-3, 1 ND, 15 KOs) of St. Louis, in another eight-round affair.
Rodriguez, 25, is making his second appearance on ShoBox and first appearance in the main event. He is a former amateur star, having won the gold medal at the 2006 National Golden Gloves Championships and the gold at the 2005 U.S. National Amateur Championships, both at 165 pounds. He is currently rated No. 4 by the North American Boxing Federation (NABF) and North American Boxing Organization (NABO).
A self-described chess-nut who says he always has a board close by and competes in online tournaments, Rodriguez recently answered six questions for SHOWTIME Sports.
You recently completed your first full training camp away from home. What was that experience like?
I went down to Australia for two weeks to work with Danny Geale and just had some great sparring and training sessions. I returned home on Tuesday (Oct. 26) and am finally starting to feel back to normal. It was the first time I was away from the comforts of home but I was training in a great country. It was very laid back and the people I stayed with were a very nice family and they have become my family. We still stay in touch. I had a great camp. I have no worries and I’m ready.
What do you know about Fargo, N.D.?
Not a thing. It doesn’t matter. It’s going to be a SHOWTIME fight so it’s going to be all over the United States. I’m going to be fighting at home and all over the place. That’s the way I feel about it. Nationally, people will be watching me so I have to be mentally and physically ready for this and I think we’ve done that.
What do you expect from James McGirt Jr.?
I don’t really know what to expect from McGirt. One day he’s a world-beater and a great boxer and the next day he’s just average. I got prepared for the best James McGirt and I don’t care which one shows up. I’m in tip-top shape and I’m ready for him.
How far could you have gone in baseball if you would have stayed in the Dominican Republic?
I think I would be in the Major Leagues right now. Being a champion is not something you get along the way. It’s something you’re born with and I really feel that I have that personality to be a champion and a good athlete. I dedicated myself to being a professional baseball player when I was small; my brothers were all really good. I grew up in a baseball family but none of us turned professional because we all ended up coming to the USA. Everything changed because of the weather and you can’t play all year. If I wasn’t a professional boxer right now I’d be a professional baseball player.
Who are your favorite baseball players?
Alex Rodriguez and Nomar Garciaparra. I used to be called Nomar when I was younger because I used to play shortstop. I believe A-Rod is the most complete player right now. The Red Sox are my home team and they always have a lot of Dominicans. That’s my team.
You chose to stay with your twin children when they were born prematurely rather than compete in the 2008 Olympics. Do you ever regret that decision?
I tried out for the Olympics but to be honest I wasn’t 100 percent there mentally with my children being in the hospital. (Even though he later survived,) I was told my son had a zero percent chance of survival. How could you expect to be on your game with the treatments every day? But I have no regrets. I have a great family. I love my kids. I wanted to be an Olympian and I worked hard for that but for some reason, good or bad, it didn’t work out. But everything is working out now so I have no regrets. You can’t live life that way. I can’t live like the world owes me something because it doesn’t. You get the cards you’re dealt with and try and do the best you can.