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Edwin Rodriguez's Day Of Joy

Glax0r's Photo Glax0r 29 Sep 2012

Edwin Rodriguez's day of joy
Hopes to celebrate kids' birthdays with a KO

Today is a special day for Edwin Rodriguez, and this time it comes with a fight.

By Bud Barth, TELEGRAM & GAZETTE

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. —  This is a big day for Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez, and not just because of his HBO-televised main event tonight at Foxwoods Casino's MGM Grand Theater.

Sept. 29 has been an important day in the life of the Worcester fighter for six years. That's when his now-wife Stephanie gave birth to twins nearly four months prematurely, setting into motion a real-life drama of enormous proportions .

Though they continue to have some problems, little Edwin Jr. and Serena are essentially healthy youngsters as they turn 7 today even though they weighed less than a pound at birth and were given almost no chance of survival. They pranced on stage at yesterday's weigh-in and were serenaded with a chorus of “Happy Birthday” by the assembled boxers, trainers and managers.

And, of course, such an atmosphere had Rodriguez (21-0-0, 14 knockouts) just oozing with love as he posed for photos and jawed with his opponent, Jason “Monstruo” Escalera (13-0-1, 12 KOs).

Wishing him luck, no doubt.

“I told him I was going to break his ribs and then I was going to knock him out,” Rodriguez said. “That kid is really arrogant. He gets on my nerves.”

The 27-year-old super middleweights both made the 166-pound contract weight, with Rodriguez hitting it right on the number and Escalera coming in a pound under. They are in the feature 10-rounder that will cap off HBO's “Boxing After Dark” telecast, which comes on the air at 9:30 tonight.

In the first two 10-rounders, Canadian Antonin Decarie (26-1, 7 KOs) defends his WBC international welterweight title against Alex Perez (16-0, 9 KOs), and undefeated Luis Orlando Del Valle (16-0, 11 KOs) takes on three-time world champion Vic Darchinyan (37-5-1, 27 KOs) for the vacant NABF super bantamweight title.

There are eight fights in all on the card, which starts at 6:30 p.m. As of last night, some tickets were still available.

Rodriguez, ranked third in the world by the WBC, is a prohibitive favorite to send Escalera back to the New Jersey meat market, where he works full time as a Rocky wannabe. Escalera's knockout power is something to be concerned about, however.

Larry Army Jr., Rodriguez's manager, admitted the risk that's inherent in going up against a pure puncher — especially a desperate one.

“You're dealing with a kid who has one shot — this is his one shot,” Army said. “He has everything to gain and nothing to lose, and he's got power, so it's the most dangerous type of fight, to me. I'm very nervous.”

Army is notorious for his pre-fight jitters. Rodriguez, on the other hand, appears to be cool and calm. He is trying to use the significance of today's date to his advantage without overemphasizing it.

“I'm just pushing it all back, I'm ready to go to work,” he said. “It's just extra motivation to go in there and do my job. Not that I need it, but it's cool that it's there.

“It's a mixed feelings day. It's always an awesome (day) because they're here, they're doing really well, but six years ago, it was a day that the kids were born premature, we didn't know what was going to happen. It was a tough day.”
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Antonious's Photo Antonious 29 Sep 2012

Rodriguez never impressed me in his last outing.



Not going to write him off yet. We will take a second look tonight.
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