HOUSTON. (March 17, 2013) - After working together for four fights and nearly two years, head trainer Ronnie Shields is confident that undefeated, United States Boxing Association (USBA) super middleweight champion Edwin "La Bomba" Rodriguez (22-0, 15 KOs) is now a complete fighter as he heads to Monaco for the "Monte Carlo Million Dollar Super 4" at Casino de Monte-Carlo.
Rodriguez takes on unbeaten 2008 Argentina Olympian Ezequiel "El Olimpico" Maderna (19-0, 13 KOs) in the opening round of four-fighter tournament. Rodriguez vs. Maderna is half of a historic four-man tournament, also matching two-time, two division world champion Zsolt Erdei (33-0, 18 KOs) and Denis Grachev (12-1-1, 8 KOs) in a light heavyweight bout. The championship final of the "Super Four" will showcase the two winners at a catch-weight of 171 ½ lbs., worth $1,000,000 (60-40 split), on July 13 in Monaco.
The "Monte Carlo Million Dollar Super 4" is being distributed in the United States and Canada by Integrated Sports Media for live viewing at 3:00 p.m. ET - 12:00 p.m. PT on both cable and satellite pay-per-view via iN Demand, DIRECTV, DISH and Avail-TVN in the United States and in Canada via Bell TV for a suggest retail price of only $24.95. In addition, the event will be available via on-line Pay Per
Rodriguez was an unbalanced, almost defenseless brawler when Shields first started training the Dominican Republic native. An all-out attack mode but Shields taught Rodriguez how to work off his jab, stay balanced, and develop his defensive skills. Those particular traits blossomed in Rodriguez' convincing win against Donovan George by 10-round decision, but his punches weren't as powerful as they had been when he brawled. In his last fight, however, Rodriguez' power returned as he battered Jason Escalera en route to an eighth-round knockout.
Now, Shields contends, his prize student is the complete package. "As Edwin matures," Shields explained from training camp in Houston, "the better he gets in the ring. He's seen all styles of sparring and everything has come together for him. There is no style he hasn't mastered. Without a doubt, Edwin is there as a complete fighter."
Rodriguez is knocking on the door of a world title shot. He is the No. 3-rated super middleweight in the world in the World Boxing Council (WBC), World Boxing Association (WBA) and International Boxing Federation (IBF), as well as ranked No. 12 by the World Boxing Organization (WBO) and No. 10 by The Ring Magazine. Capturing the "Super Four" tournament most certainly will earn him an opportunity to challenge one of the 168-pound world champions.
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Maderna, a 2008 Argentina Olympian, is ranked No. 5 by the WBO and No. 13 by the IBF. He will be fighting outside of his native Argentina for the first time as a professional.
"He is a tall, slender kid with a great amateur background, highlighted by him competing in the 2008 Olympics," Shields spoke about Maderna. "When I've looked at him fight, I see him throwing punches as he comes forward, but he's not nearly as effective going backwards. He's never fought outside of Argentina and has never fought anybody like with Edwin. Maderna is a good fighter but Edwin has a little too much for this kid. He is a European-type fighter who drops his hands a little when he's confident. He doesn't seem like a big puncher. If Edwin establishes his jab, it'll be a long night for Maderna, who is a different fighter than anybody Edwin's fought since I've been with him."
Shields isn't concerned that Rodriguez will be looking past Maderna to the Erdei-Grachev winner in the "Super Four" championship final and its $600,000 champion's purse.
"Edwin can't get to the final unless he beats Maderna," Shields concluded, "which is why this fight is so important for Edwin. He knows and understands this. Edwin has never been a problem looking past anybody."
Follow Edwin Rodriguez on Twitter @labombaboxing