RingTV.com caught up to super middleweight boxer-puncher Edwin Rodriguez in the wake of his unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna as part of the four-man light heavyweight tournament in Monte Carlo.
Rodriguez (23-0, 15 KOs) will face light heavyweight Denis Grachev (13-1-1, 8 KOs) in the final of the Monte Carlo Million Dollar Super Four on July 13 in Monaco. The fighters have agreed to a catch weight of 171.5 pounds.
Grachev defeated Zsolt Erdei by a split decision on the same card in Monte Carlo.
The winner of Rodriguez-Grachev earns the higher portion of a 60/40 share of $1 million.
Rodriguez has returned to his home in Worcester, Mass., to be with wife Stephanie, who is expecting the birth of their son, Evan Rodriguez, as soon as April 15.
He shared his thoughts on his family, his performance against Maderna and Grachev in this Q&A below.
RingTV.com: Your thoughts on being a father for the third time?
Edwin Rodriguez: Well, my son is due about two weeks from now, so it’s also one of my oldest brother’s birthday’s as well. So I’m excited. I’m looking forward to meeting my newborn son, Evan, on April 15.
RingTV.com: That’s tax day.
ER: Yeah, that’s awesome.
RingTV.com: Your thoughts on your victory over Maderna?
ER: I feel good. I got the victory, although I feel like I wasn’t at my best. But I got the win, and I get to move on in the tournament and I have the chance to do much better the next time.
RingTV.com: What didn’t you like about your performance?
ER: I think that I allowed my overconfidence to get to me. Knowing that if I was going to win this fight, that I was going to be on the bigger stage with more money involved.
I think that I was just looking way too far ahead, and that I felt like I was a lot stronger than him, but, for some reason I felt like I just needed to get in there and mix it up.
But the one thing is that I felt that I was faster and that I had a much better jab than he did. I showed that I was a better boxer than than than he was as well, the way that I was able to stay behind my defense.
There were times where I worked my way in from behind my jab and counter-punched instead of just throwing looping right hands and being wild.
But there were times where I allowed myself to get too emotional in there at times and just went for the kill.
RingTV.com: Were you at all surprised at the Gracheve over Erdei result?
ER: No, I wasn’t surprised at all. I think that Erdei hadn’t fought for a while. I think that he was the more skilled of the two, but that Grachev is a very tough opponent.
He’s a tough customer. He’s persistent and he’s very strong. Erdei just seemed to be a little rusty and he seemed to get old overnight.
He didn’t seem to punch much over the course of the fight. I think that in the end that was a fight that could have done to either one of them. I don’t think that there was a clear winner in that fight.
RingTV.com: Do you see the 171.5-pound catchweight as being an advantage to you or Grachev, either way?
ER: I believe that Grachev has fought as a 168-pounder before and has fought at 175 before. I know that he has a big win over an undefeated prospect in Ismayl Sillakh, who was 17-0 at the time.
So, I don’t know who the weight will favor. I don’t think that it makes any difference what weight we fight at. I think that it will be the skills that will make the difference in the fight. Not the weight.
RingTV.com: Do you like your skills against his rugged style?
ER: This kid is just really a tough customer, like I said before. But I’m used to fighting people who are going to come forward and make the fight.
I have a really good trainer in Ronnie Shields, and I’m sure that he’ll come up with a great game plan that I will follow to the fullest.
I will follow it the right way in this fight, because, like I said, in the last fight, I got a little over my head and wanted to try to go after the guy.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]