By Greg Aspen: Amir Khan, a fighter with the same trainer as WBA super middleweight champion Andre Ward (26-0, 14 KO’s), expects him to have to deal with a lot of pressure from the unbeaten Edwin Rodriguez (24-0, 16 KO’s) in their fight tomorrow night at the Citizens Business Bank Arena, in Ontario, California, USA. Khan sees Rodriguez have the best chance of winning if he comes right at Ward, but Khan also believes that will give Ward a lot of opportunities to land his shots to catch Rodriguez on the way in.
Khan said “I think Rodriguez is going to try and take the fight to him from the start and see if there is any ring rust there. By doing that through he can get picked off and walk into a big shot…He’s [Ward] tough enough and clever enough to stand with Rodriguez and still get the better of the fight.”
This isn’t a fight that you can just dismiss Rodriguez in because he’s got size, reach and power over Ward, and he’s also a good puncher to boot. Ward has been out of the ring for an entire year, and he’s coming off of shoulder surgery. A fighter as good as Rodriguez isn’t someone that you want to be mixing it up with after coming off of a long layoff due to injury. Ward wanted another opponent to get a tune-up bout, but HBO wasn’t feeling that.
They wanted it to be a competitive fight and not another one of Ward’s mismatches. Ward hasn’t been taking on weak opposition but his fights have still turned into mismatches due to his huge talent. He beat Chad Dawson by a 10th round stoppage in his last fight, and before that he outpointed Carl Froch in beating him by a 12 round decision to capture the Super Six tournament. Ward also beat Mikkel Kessler and Arthur Abraham in that tournament.
Rodriguez is going to need to pressure Ward as Khan says for him to have a chance at winning this fight. If he tries to box Ward, he’ll end up getting badly out-boxed by the faster and much more skilled Ward. Rodriguez needs to go all out and hope he can clip Ward with a big shot like Darnell Boone did in their fight seven years ago.