by David P. Greisman
You wouldnít expect Donovan George to promise anything less than the promise made in that headline.
Itís not his style to do anything but go to war, and few expect his March 17 fight against Edwin Rodriguez to be anything but an entertaining battle. Thereís a reason Georgeís nickname is ďDa Bomb.Ē Thereís a reason Rodriguezís nickname is ďLa Bomba.Ē And thereís a reason their bout, on the undercard to Sergio Martinez vs. Matthew Macklin, is being marketed as ďBombs Away.Ē
The 27-year-old Chicago resident is 22-1-1, 19 knockouts. Rodriguez, a 26-year-old out of Worcester, Mass., is 20-0 with 14 knockouts.
George recently spoke with BoxingScene.com about the fight.
BoxingScene.com: How excited are you about fighting on HBO and in Madison Square Garden in whatís your first time for each?
George: ďItís a dream come true for me to be able to fight on HBO. Growing up, watching HBO all the time with my dad, I thought, ĎOne day, man, hopefully I can be on there.í The phone rang, and we got a great opportunity. Iím fighting a tough kid, and I know itís going to be a great fight.
ďAnd to top it off, itís at the Garden, too. Itís just a dream come true. The Mecca of boxing. I was supposed to fight there five or six years ago, and I waited, and my opponent failed his EKG [medical test]. It was also on St. Patrickís Day, the John Duddy undercard. It was a big deal for me. I was so devastated that I didnít get to fight. Now I get to fight there on St Patrickís Day and on HBO. Itís a dream come true.Ē
BoxingScene.com: What extra pressure, if any, comes with knowing that your fight is on HBO and at the Garden?
George: ďThis is a must-win, a must impress fight for me. I canít just go out there and try to get a solid win. I got to impress. I got to showcase all my skills and talents and be exciting. If anybodyís ever seen me fight, they know that Iím not the boxer. Iím not going to be slick. I got to go out there and make it my fight. Itís going to be exciting.Ē
BoxingScene.com: You and Rodriguez fought on the same card back in April 2010. I donít know how closely youíve been keeping of him, but what do you see when you size him up?
George: ďWe were on that same card in Chicago. We both had good wins on Showtime. Iíve been following his career like I do every super middleweight. Heís been brought along good. Heís beaten some really good fighters. His last fight, he beat an undefeated guy. Heís fought some big names. Heís got some rounds. From what I hear about him, heís a good guy and a great fighter.
ďBut come fight night, itís him vs. me, and I donít care about any of the press or any of the publicity that heís had in the past of how heís the second coming. I just want to go out there, Iím going to fight my best and Iím going to win.Ē
BoxingScene.com: How do you think youíve improved since that night?
George: ďI fought [Osumanu] Adama that night, and that was one of my toughest fights and one of my best fights. Adama is moving on, heís fighting for a world title now in Australia [against Daniel Geale]. I beat a really tough guy that night. After that fight, I had a setback, I lost, and then I showed the world what I was made of after my loss. I came back and fought a guy who was 16-0 with 15 knockouts, Cornelius White, and I destroyed him in a [round]. Not many fighters bounce back like I did.
ďFirst off, I learned never to take anybody lightly, always be in top shape. I feel my conditioning is better now than ever. I always thought that I was in the best shape possible, but then I realized how much more I could push myself and how much more I could get out of myself. Thatís a huge thing. Getting tired cannot be an option.
ďMy father is working a lot on my defense and my counter-punching, which obviously needed improvement. As long as Iím improving every fight, and Iím getting better every day in the gym, I feel like I got a great chance to beat Rodriguez.Ē
BoxingScene.com: A lot of people are expecting this to be a war. You guys have similar nicknames ó ďDa BombĒ and ďLa Bomba,Ē and theyíre calling your fight ďBombs AwayĒ ó and weíre all familiar with your styles. Is a war also what youíre expecting?
George: ďYeah, absolutely. I could go on the record and say Iím going to box smart and pick my shots, but I know Iím not. Iím going to go out there and Iím going to fight my ass off. Iím going to be in the best shape possible. If itís a boxing contest, he got a slight advantage. Heís got a little more of an amateur pedigree than me, and if you watch his fights heís a little slicker than I am. But if it comes down to a war, I feel like I have the advantage. Thatís what I plan on making it.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Whatís your prediction on whatíll happen in the fight?
George: ďIím going to win. Thatís all. Iím not going to disrespect Rodriguez and say Iím going to blow him out or anything, because heís a good fighter and heís shown that he can fight at a high level. Also, Iíve read a lot of his interviews and he seems like he has a lot of class, and Iím not going to sit here and take shots at anybody.
ďThis is a business. Iím fighting for me and my family, and Iím sure heís doing the same, so the best manís going to win. I believe itís me, and Iím going to do everything in my power possible to win this fight. Iím going to lay everything on the line. Iím willing to do whatever I have to, to win this fight. This is my chance.
ďI know Iíll never be a great fighter or be in the Hall of Fame. Iím a realist. But maybe on the 17th I can show a little bit of greatness that night. Iím never going to be a great fighter, but I think I have it in me to have a great performance.Ē
BoxingScene.com: What does a win over Rodriguez on HBO at Madison Square Garden on March 17 do for your career?
George: ďI think itís going to have to catapult me to at least another big fight on HBO or a title shot. I really donít know which one Iíd rather have. Either/or sounds great to me. Obviously at the end of the day weíre all doing this because we want to accomplish something in our lives, and I want to be a champion, and thatís what I want to be known for.
ďBut also I have to take care of my family. Another big fight on HBO would definitely mean some financial security for me and my family. Thatíd be great. I didnít go to college. Iím not going to be a doctor. I need to take care of things in some other ways ó I just have a girl and two dogs. She wonít have kids with me until I quit boxing.Ē
BoxingScene.com: What else do you want tell people?
George: ďI know I have a lot of people from Chicago who are coming out there. I should have a few hundred people from Chicago. Theyíre all going to be sitting on one section. It feels great. I got so much support in my community right now. And especially the Irish people out there in New York, being half Irish, itís a big thing on St. Patrickís Day. I promise to train the best I can and make myself the best fighter possible and put on a great show that night.Ē
BoxingScene.com: The fight being St. Patrickís Day ó and the fact that you probably canít drink until after the fight ó whatís the first beer you get yourself after you leave the ring March 17?
George: ďThatís a great question. You would expect me to say Guinness, but I canít stand Guinness at all. Thereís this beer on the market, called Delirium. Itís like 10 percent alcohol, and it is awesome. I will definitely have a few of those after my fight. Itís a Belgian Ale. Itís awesome. Youíve got to try it.Ē
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter at twitter.com/fightingwords2 or on Facebook at facebook.com/fightingwordsboxing, or send questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Tags: Donovan George , Edwin Rodriguez , Rodriguez-George , Rodriguez vs George