Not even half a minute in, and Edwin Rodriguez was thinking game over against Michael Seals on November 13 in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Edwin Rodriguez came out and caught Michael Seals with a left hook that left him skidding across the ring on his belly, like someone installed a Slip’N Slide between the ropes. Just goes to show how much 30 seconds can affect a fight.
Like, say, when Rodriguez went for the kill, unloaded with abandon and Seals caught him with a big right.
Rodriguez knew he was in a fight then. He started working behind his jab, outboxing Seals over the next two minutes. But on a night that featured more than a dozen knockdowns on the card, Seals wasn’t quite done.
Rodriguez flung an overhand right. It was his money shot that had been doing the most damage in the round. Fourteen seconds to go, and Seals beat him to the punch with a right of his own.
Rodriguez’s hands shot up. His legs gave out. Face down on the mat, count of one. He swung around and sat up, count of two. He tried to stand and slipped back down, count of four. Finally, on five, he stood up. The bell was a mercy.
“It was a tough round,” Rodriguez said. “I put him down. I came out looking to finish the fight in the first round. And I came back to finish the job, but in the meantime, he came back with a sneaky right hand and put me down. I took my knee. I wasn’t hurt, but I took the full count to make sure that I got back on it. I came back to finish the round strong, but he hit me again. He caught me with a good right hand in between my shot.”
Rodriguez barely survived those opening three minutes, which the editors of PremierBoxingChampions.com have selected as the PBC Round of the Year. (The PBC broadcast teams voted for Round 1 of Daniel Jacobs vs Sergio Mora.)
It all worked out in the end for Rodriguez. He regained his composure in the second and knocked Seals down. He put him away for good in the third, less than half a minute into that one.
Since then, he’s earned plenty of admiration both from boxing aficionados and from those within the sport.
“People’s reactions have been very funny,” Rodriguez said. “I go to the gym and people are pointing at me saying my balls are bigger than the whole building. It’s been fun.
“I’m going to be able to get more fights because of it. People are going to be looking at me like he’s been down before; it’s motivation to give them courage to fight me, which is great. I’ll welcome it. I was having a hard time finding opponents and fights. Hopefully one of the champions will be brave enough to give me an opportunity.”
The attention the fight received in the boxing community can only help raise Rodriguez’s stock. Although going down twice in a round is a bit of a steep price to pay.
However, if it got the job done and lands Rodriguez a big fight next time out, who’s to say it wasn’t worth it?
“If I get put down again, I’m definitely getting back up and I’m kicking some ass,” he said. “I’m tough, I can take a shot. But if you do put me down I’m going to get back up and I’m going to hunt you down.”
Coming Tuesday: the PBC Rising Star of the Year. For all of our editors' picks, follow our Best of PBC 2015 entries.