Tonight on HBO, live from Ontario California, Andre “SOG” Ward made his return to the ring against undefeated Dominican Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez. The fight began extremely sloppy, Rodriguez was holding excessively and refusing to break. Both men fell in with their punches which caused every exchange to end with a clinch. The fight remained ugly until the fourth round when referee Jack Reiss grabbed Ward in an attempt to break up a vicious clinch and was grazed by a punch thrown by Rodriguez. Reiss stopped the action and deducted two points from each fighter. Although, I didn’t like the way that Reiss made himself such a big part of the fight, and a two point reduction from each fighter was ridiculous, it did help to clean up the action a bit. Ward continued to dominate the fight throughout, landing hard jabs which snapped back the head of Rodriguez, and the occasional combination. In the eleventh round Ward landed a hard left hook as Rodriguez was wildly coming in and it wobbled him badly, although there was not enough time left in the round for Ward to capitalize on it. The twelfth round was more of the same, lots of clinches and a few hard shots landed by Ward. Ward improved to 27-0 with 14 KOs, and certainly maintained his number two spot in the pound for pound ratings.
The big question following tonight’s fight is; where does Ward go from here? There are very few options left for him at 168, aside from a possible rematch with Carl Froch. Should Golovkin decide to move up that would be a relatively big fight, although Golovkin doesn’t look to be moving up anytime soon. It seems that Ward may have to move up to light heavyweight in order to find any reasonable challenges. Fights against Adonis Stevenson, Sergey Kovalev, or the winner of Pascal vs Bute would all be solid challenges for him. Either way he decides to go though, I don’t see him losing anytime soon.
What did you think of tonight’s fight? Who would you like to see Ward fight next? Let me know in the comments section below.