If ever there was a word to describe Andre Ward inside a boxing ring, it would be "dominant."
Every fight recap over the past few years has included that word. It was the case when he blasted out Chad Dawson in 10 rounds and when he defeated Carl Froch, Arthur Abraham, Sakio Bika, Allan Green and Mikkel Kessler during his run to the Super Six championship. Heck, Ward hasn't lost a fight of any kind since he was a pre-teen.
Another word that can describe Ward, at least as of late, is "inactive." Injuries and promotional issues have limited Ward to just one fight since December 2011 and he is coming off his second consecutive career-long layoff, this time 14 months. At age 29 he is at the later stages of his prime but one has to wonder what all the time off has done to his considerable skills.
If anyone can help conjure an answer, it is Edwin Rodriguez. Rodriguez is a hungry, ambitious volume-punching specialist who carries a 24-0 (16 KO) record and a million-dollar check following his one-round blowout of Denis Grachev in July. The Dominican bomber is eager to prove that he is among the best fighters in one of boxing's best divisions.
Statistical factors that may shape the outcome include: