Unbeaten middleweight sensation Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez, a former two-time national amateur champion, fights Saturday night, January 17 in his first scheduled eight round bout against Brad Austin on the off-televised HBO undercard, headlined by the Andre Berto vs. Luis Collazo WBC welterweight title fight at the Beau Rivage Resort Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi.
“I’m excited,” Rodriguez said between training sessions about his upcoming match. “I can’t wait to show everyone my talents. It’s another stepping stone towards becoming world champion. HBO and a lot of other influential people in boxing will be there and I’m going to showcase my talents.”
The Dominican Republic-born Rodriguez, 8-0 (5), hasn’t fought since August 22, when he won all six rounds versus Marcus Upshaw, but during that inactive period he often sparred with world title challengers Peter Manfredo, Jr. and Elvin Ayala, as well as Jessie Brinkley. Mississippi will be the fifth different state Edwin’s already fought in as a pro.
“My inactivity won’t be an issue,” Edwin promised. “I was very busy with eight fights in my first year as a pro. I took off a few months but I was constantly in and out of the gym.
"I’d only been with my trainer, Peter Manfredo, Sr., for about eight months and we needed more time to know each other. I’ve learned a lot from him. I’ll be working inside a lot more. I was getting caught with rights pulling away with my chin up. That was a bad amateur habit we had to clean up.
“We’re fighting at 168 pounds but, I’m 6-0 feet tall and can fight at 168 or 160. I’m capable of winning at either weight, but my first goal is to be middleweight champ of the world. Eventually, I’ll probably fight as a super middleweight, but right now I’m fighting this one at 168 and then coming back down to 160.”
Austin, 8-5 (2), fighting out of Tennessee, figures to be a solid test for Rodriguez, largely due to his experience fighting top prospects such as Carlos DeLeon, Jr., James McGirt, Jr. and Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillen.
“Last year was great for Edwin,” Rodriguez’ manager Larry Army noted. “We decided as a team for Edwin to take off four months to review his fights and hone his skills. We’re thrilled that Edwin is starting 2009 on such a high profile card, his first on an HBO or world title fight undercard.
"He’s going to learn a lot from this experience, which will help him develop even more. We’re confident that 2009 will start as 2008 ended with him undefeated and one more step closer to his goal of becoming world champion.”
For more information about the 23-year-old Rodriguez go online to www.edwinrodriguezboxing.com.