By Rick Reeno
Lou DiBella, promoter for undefeated Edwin Rodriguez, has advised BoxingScene.com that Saturday's fight against Andre Ward will now be a non-title encounter.
Rodriguez (24-0, 16KOs) was set to challenge Ward (26-0, 14KOs) for the WBA super middleweight championship. However, he was unable to make the super middleweight limit of 168-pounds at Friday's weigh-in. Rodriguez came in at two-pounds over, at 170-pounds, while Ward easily made weight at 167.8-pounds.
A deal was reached where the HBO televised bout, taking place at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, will go forward as a non-title fight. Rodriguez will also have to fork over 20% of his purse [a cut of $200,000 dollars] and he has to take part in a secondary weigh-in on Saturday morning - where Rodriguez will have to weigh a max of 180-pounds.
DiBella was very apologetic over the situation and offered no excuses for Rodriguez's inability to make weight.
"I don't want to make any excuses. I'm not the fighter who is making weight, but I want to apologize to Andre Ward, Virgil Hunter, HBO and everybody involved because there is no excuse. It is unprofessional. Even if you are unable to do it anymore, you have to say that you are unable to do it anymore and come clean with that fact. To have a world title fight and be in this situation is unacceptable. I love Edwin and I respect him as a person but what happened here wasn't right. The worst part is, he won't get the opportunity to win a world title and you have to think if he depleted himself to this point, it's not going to give him the best chance to win. It's just unfortunate," DiBella told BoxingScene.com.
When Rodriguez left the weigh-in, he found it impossible to drop anymore weight.
"He had nothing left, he couldn't spit, he couldn't piss," DiBella said. "In the past they had some struggles [to make 168] but as you get older you just can't do it anymore [struggle down to make weight]."
Fighters not being able to make weight is becoming a regular occurrence in boxing. Because of that fact, BoxingScene has heard that HBO is seriously considering the addition of a "weight clause" to their license fee agreements, which is going to penalize the fighter and/or adjust the amount of money the network is paying when a fighter is unable to not making the agreed upon weight.
DiBella, who also heard that HBO is considering such a plan, does not blame the network for considering that option.
"If HBO adds that in the future, I would understand it totally," DiBella said.
Tags: HBO , Andre Ward , Edwin Rodriguez , Ward-Rodriguez , Ward vs Rodriguez