The red-hot Super Middleweight division will be at the forefront of boxing again tomorrow night, as HBO’s Boxing After Dark’s main event will pit two undefeated super middleweight prospects against each other. Dominican Republic born Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez, 27 (21-0, 14 KOs), takes on Jason Escalera, 27 (13-0-1, 12 KOs), in a scheduled 10 round bout. Rodriguez appeared last on the undercard of HBO’s World Championship Boxing telecast on St. Patrick’s day, where he scored a wide unanimous decision against Don George (23-2-1, 20 KOs). For Escalera, the New Jersey native will be getting his first opportunity to showcase his talents on a big stage. With the exception of appearing on Spanish-speaking telecasts, and fighting on the undercard of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights, Escalera has gotten very little exposure, and is the underdog tomorrow night against Rodriguez.
As mentioned before, both fighters are prospects, so it’s to be expected that neither of the two have been up against world-class competition. However, Rodriguez has definitely took on the tougher opposition to the this point and doesn’t have a draw to show for it like Escalera does. This is one of the reasons Rodriguez is favored. Also, Escalera has never gone past 8 rounds in his career. The one time he did he received the before mentioned draw on his record against Nick Brinson (10-1-2, 5 KOs). Rodriguez however, has gone 10 rounds three times in his career, and has received a unanimous decision victory each time.
The key to this bout is a simple one: Rodriguez needs to use his superior defense, ring generalship, and stick and move from the outside to defeat Escalera. For Esaclera, he must apply intelligent pressure, use the jab while cutting off the ring on Rodriguez, and get Rodriguez into exchanges. Rodriguez has a slight reach and height advantage, and is naturally prone to fighting on the outside anyways. While Esaclera has shown as a pro that he likes to come forward and score stoppages. If Rodriguez can keep Escalera on the outside, he should be able to win a decision by a wide margin. If Escalera can force Rodriguez into an exciting fight, with numerous exchanges, he can knock Rodriguez out. Rodriguez is good defensively, but whenever Don George was able to get him into exchanges Rodriguez showed that his technique slips a bit and he will sometimes drops his hands. Escalera has the speed and power to get Rodriguez out of there if it turns into a brawl. The question is, will he have the ring savvy to make the elusive Rodriguez stop and fight? Escalera will likely have to walk through some good punches to get in his own.
The speed and power of Escalera is tempting. Few have heard of him and even fewer have seen him, but he does indeed posses the power and speed that would make a spectator think of him as a better fighter than he really is. The problem is, he doesn’t bob and weave too much, he’s a go-forward, and keep his guard high kind of fighter. Escalera doesn’t parry a lot of shots either, so while he has the bombs to knock out “La Bomba” he may not have the technique to get them delivered on target. BRB is taking Edwin Rodriguez by a unanimous decision.