Edwin Rodriguez has said he believes he got a sneak preview five months ago of how to attack Thomas Williams Jr. when the 175-pounders meet on April 30. Williams' response: Consider the feeling mutual.
Rodriguez and Williams fought on the same November 13 card in Biloxi, Mississippi, with both fighters gaining stoppage victories—but not before both rose from the canvas themselves.
Facing unbeaten prospect Michael Seals, Edwin Rodriguez (28-1, 19 KOs) was floored twice in the opening round and barely made it to the bell, but was able to rally and gain a third-round TKO. Prior to Rodriguez's victory, Thomas Williams Jr. (19-1, 13 KOs) also got dropped in the first round by Humberto Savigne, but he too battled back and won by second-round TKO.
So just as Rodriguez claimed he believes Savigne provided the blueprint for beating Williams, the "Top Dog" thinks Seals did the same. Namely, Williams intends to apply some potent early pressure and "bring the fight" to Rodriguez when the two meet in the scheduled 10-round bout at the StubHub Center in Carson, California (Fox, 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).
More importantly, Williams insists he'll finish what Seals couldn't.
What about Rodriguez's assertion that he spotted exposable flaws in Williams' game during the fight with Savigne? Williams isn't buying it.
For one thing, the 28-year-old southpaw believes a lengthy layoff leading up to the Savigne fight was to blame for his shaky early start. His previous fight was a 10-round unanimous decision over Michael Gbenga in Chicago in December 2014.
“I had to shake off the ring rust [against Savigne],” says Williams, who exchanged first-round knockdowns with Savigne before taking him out in Round 2. “I came out and dropped him, and then he came back and put me down with a right hand. But if you go back and look at it, he stepped on my foot when he hit me.
“I was never really hurt by his punch. I was calm, and I was able to go back and get him out of there. It was a very exciting fight and I've received a lot of good feedback, and my fans are anxious for me to get back into the ring and do it again."
Williams was storming toward title contention before being stopped in the fifth round by former 175-pound world champion Gabriel Campillo in August 2014. A victory over the 30-year-old Rodriguez, whose only loss came to Andre Ward in November 2013, would propel Williams right back into the championship picture.
Of course, Rodriguez doesn't plan on letting that happen, having predicted that he'll previal by knockout on April 30. As for Williams, he plans to let his fists in the ring do his talking.
“Honestly, I don’t care what Rodriguez has to say, now or later,” Williams says. “I’m just staying focused on what I’m supposed to do.”
For a complete look at Rodriguez vs Williams, visit our fight page.