Prospect Watch: Edwin Rodriguez to turn pro


Prospect Watch: Edwin Rodriguez to turn pro

Press Release: Two-time national amateur champion Edwin Rodriguez of Worcester, Mass., makes his pro debut on January 26, 2008 in a four-round middleweight bout in Mansfield, Mass. The opponent for the 22-year-old Rodriguez will be determined. The 6-foot Rodriguez won the USA Boxing national championship for 2005 and the Golden Gloves national championship for 2006, both at 165 pounds, and had a record of 84-9.

“I have every confidence I’ll be a world champ,” says Rodriguez, who has lived in Worcester since arriving in the United States from his native Dominican Republic during 1998.  “I know every one who turns pro says that, but I believe I have the background and the tools to make it happen.” Those tools include a large upper body, quick hands, superb technique, deft defense and outstanding power.

“Dedication, discipline, determination, those are the ‘3 Ds’ I learned from my mother (Minerva), dad (Octavio) and amateur trainer (Carlos Garcia),” says Rodriguez.  “Together, they can put you over the top and make and keep you a champion.  But you have to have the basic skills and then sharpened them in order to get in position to fight for a title in the first place.  I believe I have all these elements.”

Rodriguez considered competing for a spot on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team, but the premature birth of twins, Edwin Jr. and Serena Lynn, changed his priorities.  Stephanie Rapa, Edwin’s fiancee and mother of the twins, is a graduate of Holy Cross with a degree in political science and has been accepted by the Western New England School of Law.

Rodriquez also has attended college, Quinsigamond Community College.  While training and the babies take too much time for college now, Rodriquez keeps his mind sharp with chess, a passion of his since middle school.  He always keeps a board handy and is constantly engaged in at least a dozen on-line tournaments.

“I have no doubt whatsoever that Edwin will be a world champion,” says his manager, Larry Army, a Worcester attorney and businessman.  “He has the natural ability, an amazing capacity and desire to learn and improve and an attitude and work ethic that is unparalleled.  I believe he truly is the future of the middleweight division.”

While a family and its responsibilities have tempered many a young athlete, Rodriguez already was mature beyond his years. “I like to think that I’m a nice guy, a humble guy with a big heart, outside of the ring, that is,” says Rodriguez.  “Inside the ring, that’s another story; that’s where I take care of my business.”

Humble?  With an e-mail address that reads “thenextchamp”? “That may be my only concession,” says Rodriguez.  “But I’m not cocky, just confident.  You can be humble, but at the same time aware of where you want to go.”