by Eric Raskin
Andre Ward is not ranked first on any pound-for-pound lists at the moment. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t the best fighter in the world. It just means he doesn’t have the track record, visibility, or activity this year of Floyd Mayweather. But to watch both undefeated boxers’ last couple of fights, you’d be hard pressed to separate them, to point to one as clearly superior to the other. Ward is that good.
Edwin Rodriguez, a bigger, harder punching, undefeated contender, discovered that first-hand on Saturday at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California, where the lineal super middleweight champ Ward had the crowd ooh-ing and aah-ing with every flush punch, of which there were plenty. In his return to the ring after surgery on his right shoulder and a 14-month layoff, Ward was as masterful as ever, shutting down Rodriguez’s theoretically dangerous offense and, if not for some aggressive refereeing and dubious judging, shutting him out as well. The official final tallies were 118-106, 117-107, and 116-108.