In the main event of HBO Boxing After Dark’s “Road To Glory” fight card at the MGM Grand’s Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT, Edwin Rodriguez made his case very clear by drubbing into submission erstwhile unbeaten boxer Jason Escalera in the 8th round of their 10 round bout for the USBA super middleweight belt.
In the aftermath of the one-sided carnage, Edwin Rodriguez, who is undefeated with 22 wins and 15 knockouts on his resume, proclaimed that he is ready to step up and face the likes of Kelly Pavlik or any other marquee fighter who wants a piece of his scalp.
“Today I wanted to send a message and I believe I did. I’m ready now. My promoter and manager have done a great job moving me along and if they think I’m ready, I’m ready.”
Caught in the euphoria of his win, Edwin Rodriguez even vowed that he is willing to move up to light heavyweight and challenge former WBC titlist and Ring Magazine Champion Jean Pascal if the latter obliges their friendship notwithstanding.
“Pascal is a good friend, but this is business. If he wants to get it on, I’m down as well.”
The fight with Jason Escalera (13-1, 12 KOs) was an easy one for the bigger and heavier Edwin Rodriguez as he used and exploited his advantages in talent and power over his raw and inexperienced opponent to perfection. Rodriguez ballooned to 186 lbs from 166 lbs while Escalera rehydrated to 176 from 165 lbs after the weigh-in the day before the fight.
Edwin Rodriguez outworked, outwitted and outslugged Jason Escalera round after round en route to an 8th round TKO when the referee Steve Smoger finally stopped the one-sided fight just 8 seconds into the fateful round when Rodriguez cornered and continued to pummel the obviously hurt and almost defenseless Escalera in the corner. The dazed Jason Escalera, with blood oozing from his busted right ear from Rodriguez’ vicious hard lefts, submitted to the referee’s verdict without protest.
The omen of things to come came early just seconds into the first round when Edwin Rodriguez, nicknamed “La Bomba,” unleashed his bombs right away and caught Jason Escalera early in the chin with a power shot that sent his mouthpiece out of his mouth and onto the canvass. He would receive several more hard blows downstairs and upstairs from Rodriguez’s hard two-fisted attacks up until 2:05 remaining in the round when the referee, Steve Smoger had to stop the beatdown so that Jason Escalera could have his mouthpiece back in place.
The short respite was to no avail as Edwin Rodriguez resumed bombing his way into Jason Escalera’s porous defense, landing 49 of his 82 powershots in the round. What Jason Escalera lacked in experience and skills, though, he more than made up for in his huge heart and showed that he possesses a granite chin, as he absorbed everything that his opponent threw his way while applying token resistance and trying to shake off the cobwebs in his head.
It was all downhill from there for Jason Escalera as he tried to wage an uphill battle with an opponent who is not only better skilled and talented than him, but also has a vast array of weapons in his arsenal.
The story of the fight was the glaring contradiction between the two protagonists in poise, savvy, experience, power, talent and skills. The story of the fight was Edwin Rodriguez’s constant pressure and consistent overhands, hooks and upper cuts to Jason Escalera’s ineffective counterpops. It was also the story of Escalera’s ‘flying mouthpiece’ and Rodriguez’s accuracy with his power shots as Jason Escalera’s mouthpiece was dislodged from his mouth on numerous occasions as a result of Edwin Rodriguez’s bombs connecting with his mouth, jaw and chin.
Punch Statistics showed that Edwin Rodriguez stamped his class over the hapless Jason Escalera in this particular fight. Rodriguez connected 195/335 power punches for a 58% accuracy compared to Escalera’s woeful 65/222, 29% connection rate and outlanding him 231/537 for a 43% clip compared to 95/440, 22% total punches.
Yes, the slow, methodical and deliberate beating that Edwin Rodriguez delivered on Jason Escalera is a mirror of his maturity and readiness for bigger fights ahead. The verdict is still out there though for Edwin Rodriguez, and a future fight with the likes of Kelly Pavlik and the other big names in the division will show his real worth as a prizefighter.
The win was doubly sweet for Edwin Rodriguez since it happened on the birthday of his twins, who were born ‘premature’ six years ago to the day.
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