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July 24, 2013

By Benny Henderson Jr.

Super middleweight contender Edwin Rodriguez (24-0 with 16 KOs) is coming off a first-round romping over tough-as-nails Denis Grachev. Rodriguez is now looking to capitalize on his victory by aiming for the elite. Rodriguez, who recently became a father for as third time has beaten a handful of quality opponents, and is in high hopes if garnering a title fight to further his career. In this exclusive interview, Edwin speaks out on his career, names a few names and more. Enjoy.

Benny Henderson Jr.: Congratulations on your recent victory in Monaco, winning the Million Dollar Super 4 tournament, as well as the prize money. Give the readers your thoughts on that victory and what it does for you.

Edwin Rodriguez: It was a great victory over someone who was highly ranked. Somebody who has fought some really quality opposition, including Lucian Bute. I worked hard for this fight, and I went in there and produced a first round knockout.  I think that shows that hard work does pay off. I went to San Francisco for three weeks to help prepare for this fight with high altitude training. Then I went back to Houston, TX and continued to work with Ronnie Shields. All the hard work does pay off.

BH: You speak of working in the high altitude, then going down to Houston. I live North of H-Town, and the humidity is killer. One fighter told me, it was like breathing jello. How did that affect your training? Was the humidity rough on you?

ER: It was rough on me when I first got there. I had a bunch of energy, and after two or three rounds I felt like I was dying, but everybody explained to me it was the humidity that was hitting me. I have been working with Ronnie for two years now, so I have gotten used to the humidity in Texas as well as the heat. I think it actually helps me now.

BH: With the recent victory, you are still undefeated. With all the success, do you feel you get the respect you deserve?

ER: I feel like I do, I am looking forward to one of those big fights, to take on a top name in my division. There are a lot of them. I am just trying to get one of those big guys in there and prove myself. To get more respect.

BH: What is next for you, have you sat down with your promoter Lou DiBella to discuss options for your next opponent?

ER: Lou just got back from Italy, we will be looking to sit down this week or the week after to see where we go from here. But what I want is the names like, Arthur Abraham, Carl Froch, Lucian Bute, Mikkel Kessler, Andre Ward... there are so many of them. I want to get in there and prove myself.

BH: Ok, letís go even deeper with this, if you had it your way, who would you fight next and why?

ER: Right now, I think Carl Froch, because he has the IBF and WBA titles. He has been more active, although Andre Ward is the super champion, he has not been active. I do not know what is going on in his career.  Carl Froch has been active, he has belts, and he can pack a stadium anywhere. I think that would be a great fight for me. That is a dream fight. Sakio Bika also has a (WBC) belt now. I just want to fight one of those big names to win a world title.

BH: You were in Froch's camp one time sparring with him. We do know that sparring is totally different from an actual fight, but, did you take something away from those sparring sessions that you feel you can capitalize on if you two were to battle in the ring?

ER: He is a strong fighter, one of the most powerful fighters in our weight class. I think he is one of the best, and to be the best, you have to beat the best. He is at the top of our division. I have worked with so many world champions, and I know I can hang with the elite guys. You mentioned sparring is not the same as the real fight itself, but you get an idea. I have sparred other world champs as well, so I am confident I would win.

BH: You have just had your third child, so congratulations on that. We know with you, your children and family drive you to work harder and to succeed. But, being a Dad, do you worry more now about the possibility of being injured in a bout, and fear the punishment can add up?

ER: You think of all the punishment you take in this game, but it is not something you should go in there thinking about. You have to provide for your family. It does make you work harder and add motivation.

BH: Anything in closing you would like to add?

ER: I just want to thank all the fans who have followed my career. 2013 is a year I will be shooting for a world-class name and a world championship.

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