By Rick Reeno
BoxingScene.com has obtained a letter that was issued to the World Boxing Association. The letter was sent by Josh Dubin, the attorney for WBA super middleweight champion Andre Ward. A serious issue has come up with respect to the penalty being paid by Ward's opponent, Edwin Rodriguez.
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.
The fight takes place later tonight at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario. It was said yesterday that Rodriguez would have to fork over 20% of his purse [a cut of $200,000 dollars] and he would have to take part in a secondary weigh-in on Saturday morning - where he would be allowed to weigh a max of 180-pounds [which he made at 179.8].
Apparently Ward and his team are not satisfied, and did not agree, with the 20% penalty on Rodriguez.
The letter references the WBA's own rules, which directs Rodriguez to pay 45% of his purse.
According to the WBA's rule E 9e - " a boxer who does not make weight after the two hour extension shall forfeit 35% of his purse ." The rule later states " a boxer who refuses to attempt to make weight during the two hour extension shall forfeit 45% of his purse ."
Ward's team wants the WBA to enforce their rules on Rodriguez, which at a minimum directs him to pay a 35% penalty. Because he never stepped on the official scale during the two hour period, Ward and his team believe Rodriguez never made an attempt to shed off the two pounds - which, according to the WBA's rules, makes him a 45% offender.
When reached for comment on the situation, Dubin told BoxingScene.com the following:
"This fight was for the WBA world title. The only reason it is no longer for the WBA world title is because Rodriguez failed to make the weight. The rules still apply, because the rules make provisions for this very situation, and they are extraordinarily clear on what's to occur. And we expect the rules to be applied. What's wrong with boxing right now is that too often the rules are not applied. The rules are the rules. Andre Ward and Edwin Rodriguez both agreed to pay sanctioning fees. It was in their bout agreement that this fight would be for the WBA world title and the WBA rules apply," Dubin told BoxingScene.com.
"The rules are very clear that there is a penalty [that directs the offender] to pay a bare minimum of 35%. We have reason to believe that he never even tried to make the weight during the two hour period because he never got back on the scale. He should be fined 45%, that's what the rules say because he never made an effort to make the weight during that two hour period. There is a rule where the athletic commission withholds 20%. We need some relief in-between 20% and the 45% that [Ward is] owed. And Andre Ward is not going to step in the ring tonight if the WBA isn't going to apply their rules."