by David P. Greisman
BoxingScene.com: You had a long training camp away from home, and now youíve had several days back, coming home the winner over Donovan George at Madison Square Garden on HBO. What are you feeling right now?
Rodriguez: ďItís a great feeling. You know, itís just unreal. My hard work and dedication to the sport is finally paying off. Itís a good feeling coming back home. I have a lot of people who look up to what Iím doing. Thatís even more motivation. Just coming back home and seeing my kids and seeing my family, just being around them, is amazing, especially after a big win on HBO in Madison Square Garden.Ē
BoxingScene.com: How hard is it for you to be away for so long?
Rodriguez: ďExtremely difficult. Most of the time Iím basically just by myself. You miss the little things, even like when youíre just lying in bed and your daughter or your son just comes over and wakes you up. Thereís those little things, you know what I mean? I just miss being around. Iím missing part of their life. Theyíre only five years old now, so every day and every week that I miss, I feel like Iím missing important things that are happening in their development. And it sucks.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Letís talk about the Donovan George fight. Did it end up going how you planned for it to go?
Rodriguez: ďDefinitely. We tried to make it seem like we were going to war, and this and that, but Iím a lot more than just somebody that can just go at it back and forth. I finally was able to have a really good camp where I worked a lot of defense and boxing. I wanted to show the world that there was more to me than just that fighter that gets hit and hits back.
ďI got a lot of criticism for not having a good defense. I always had defense, I just didnít bother to use it. But Iím getting to that level where a game plan and fighting different styles to beat other peopleís styles matters and makes a difference in the fight, because, you know, at that next level everybodyís skills are going to be right there. So now you got to be smarter than them, and youíve got to use the things that you think are going to work to your advantage to be able to beat that certain style. I think thatís what we did for this fight.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Was it difficult not to get drawn into a firefight with Donovan George?
Rodriguez: ďIt was extremely difficult. But we had a really good training camp. Itís a lot easier to fight than to actually box, especially when youíre used to just fighting. So mentally it was extremely difficult, especially when I got hit with a good punch. I wanted to just come back and make it a war. But I just kept thinking, ĎAll right, Iím going to get even as the round goes. I donít have to get even right away.í
ďThatís one of my strengths in boxing is that if you hit me, Iím going to get even. Iím competitive, but at the same time thatís also a weakness, because Iím trying to get back at him too soon. You never know, you could get hit with a good shot. Iím trying to be so competitive. Iím trying to come back right at you, and I can be hurt. But now, if I actually just think about it, I can get even, but not right away. Iím working on doing that. Iím trying to become better at it.Ē
BoxingScene.com: How was Donovan George, compared to what you expected?
Rodriguez: ďHe was what I expected. I expected somebody strong, with power in both hands, a lot of determination, a lot of courage. He was definitely that. I think that my game plan and the way I fought him, was able to ó he wasnít able to do his offense due to my defense. I donít think it was his fault. I think it was something I was doing right.Ē
BoxingScene.com: A lot of us had been expecting and hoping for a big, entertaining brawl. Iím guessing youíre thinking that in the long run while that may have entertained fans, the way you approached this fight will be better for your career and your stature in the sport.
Rodriguez: ďDefinitely. But at the same time, you got to be able to entertain the fans. I think, in a way, we did. It couldíve been a lot more entertaining, though, if I wouldíve just fought the way I used to fight. But at the same time, I was getting so much criticism, so I had to switch up my style a little bit for that fight.
ďThat doesnít mean Iím always going fight like that. If Iím fighting a different style, Iím going to fight differently. I have that advantage where I can brawl, and now I just proved that I can box. My next opponent is not going to know what to expect from me, because Iím able to do more than one thing.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Were there any nerves being on HBO and in Madison Square Garden for the first time?
Rodriguez: ďDefinitely. There was a lot of nerves. But at the same time, thatís where I belong. When I step in the ring, I feel comfortable, confident, and I just had a great camp, so I think that helped me feel confident and comfortable.Ē
BoxingScene.com: I know you just returned home and probably donít want to think about it, but when do you see yourself getting back in camp?
Rodriguez: ďI donít want to think about it [laughs]. Iím waiting on my manager and my team to put together what my next fight is going to be. But in the meantime, Iíll start doing light workouts, keep my body very good, staying healthy and staying in the gym. Iíll do it right at home until I have plans for my next fight.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Who do you want your next fight to be against?
Rodriguez: ďHonestly I donít really care. Iíll let Lou DiBella and my manager, Larry Army, do their job, as I continue to do mine. Theyíve been doing a great job. Lou DiBella has been doing a really good job promoting my career, bringing me along the right way, on a lot of television. Iím glad Iím working with a guy like Lou. And my manager has been doing a good job as well. So Iím going to let them do their job as I continue to do mine.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Anything else you want to say?
Rodriguez: ďI just want to thank all the fans for following my career. I really appreciate 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: Edwin Rodriguez