By Jake Donovan
What was once rumored as a possibility has now become a reality for Edwin Rodriguez and Thomas Williams Jr., as the pair of light heavyweights will collide on March 12 at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Both sides have officially agreed to terms, according to sources requesting anonymity as the full show has yet to be formally announced. The bout will serve in supporting capacity to the mouthwatering matchup between Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter, which will air live in primetime on CBS, as previously reported on these pages earlier this month.
What has changed in that time is the dynamics of the Rodriguez-Williams Jr. clash. It is not yet known if the light heavyweight scrap will appear on the free-to-air CBS primetime portion as the evening’s chief support, or if it will air on an associated broadcast, such as Showtime or SHO Extreme - similar to NBC Sports Network providing bonus coverage for NBC boxing events.
Also no longer the case – at least as this goes to publish – is the matchup serving as an official title eliminator. As the two fighters are not ranked together among the Top 15 in any given sanctioning body, their clash will be scheduled for 10 rounds or less.
If their most recent ring appearances are any indication, there is a little extra emphasis on “less.”
The pair of light heavyweights appeared together – although in separate fights– on the November 13th edition of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on Spike TV at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. Their bouts followed an eerily similar format – both required to climb off the canvas (in Rodriguez’ case, twice) to win by knockout.
Rodriguez (28-1, 19KOs) – who hails from Worcestor, Mass. but trains out of Ronnie Shields’ facility in Houston - scored a 3rd round knockout of previously unbeaten Michael Seals in their televised main event. A total of five knockdowns came of their microwaved thriller, with Rodriguez flooring Seals barely 30 seconds into the bout before twice hitting the deck before the end of the opening round.
The former super middleweight contender recovered to drop Seals in rounds two and three, the latter producing the end of the fight.
By that point, Williams Jr. (19-1, 13KOs) – whose father Thomas Sr. was also a pro boxer - had survived his own scare in a 2nd round knockout of Humberto Savigne in their televised co-feature. The two boxers traded opening round knockdowns before Williams Jr. put him away for good midway through round two.
Rodriguez has won four straight following his Nov. ’13 loss to Andre Ward, where he missed weight to render a previously sanctioned super middleweight title fight as a non-title affair. He has since moved up to the light heavyweight division, where each of his last four victories have taken place, including three straight knockouts lasting less than seven rounds worth of ring time.
Williams – who hails from the greater Washington D.C. area - suffered a shocking 5th round stoppage at the hands of former light heavyweight champ Gabriel Campillo in Aug. ’14, rebounding to have won each of his last two starts.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox