Edwin Rodriguez gave his career a nice little shot of octane, as he assaulted Denis Grachev in round one on Saturday night in Monte Carlo, in the Monte Carlo Million Dollar Super Four Final.
The 24-0 Massachusetts boxer may not have elevated himself to where there will be a persistent call for him to meet Andre Ward, but he opened eyes more than ever before. The 15-1 Russian went down, after eating a bunch of long, hard blows, at 2:18 of the first. E-Rod looked sharp as hell, and heavy handed at the super middleweight-plus class. A left hook, after a series of hard scoring blows, had the Russian down again, with less than a minute in the period. The ref could have stopped it then, as Grachev looked pretty out of it. But the fight continued, Grachev continued to take punishment, and when he listed onto the ropes, the referee ended it, with ten seconds remaining.
E-Rod impressed by landing power shots from a distance, placing power punches with precision to head and body while staying out of range of a counter. It looks like the kid may have taken a noticeable leap in class after the latest camp with Ronnie Shields. I think it's a pick em fight if he were to meet, say, WBC super middle champion Sakio Bika.
Kell Brook has had fights galore fall through recently, but he cheered himself up Saturday in Yorkshire, England with a TKO8 stoppage win over Carson Jones, in a rematch of their July 2012 contest. In that faceoff, Brook won by majority decision. This time, though, Brook, age 27, made sure the judges would be rendered null.
No, it wasn't a win over the man he'd been slated to fight three times, Devon Alexander, before injuries messed up those appearances, but on this night, Brook was on message and in fine form. He snapped the jab in this catchweight (152 or less) contest. Brook went to 30-0 while Jones slipped to 35-9-3.
The 26-year-old is 1-2-1 in his last four. It must be said, the stoppage screamed somewhat iffy, as Jones was on his feet, defending himself semi-capably, and protested vehemently, with clear faculties and voice, when the ref hopped in. But he was eating clean shots, and the ref was right there, assessing the loser. So, perhaps better safe than sorry.
Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?