An IBF super middleweight title eliminator between Adonis Stevenson and Edwin Rodriguez won't be happening, as Rodriguez's team has passed on the fight, according to Ryan Maquiñana. Stevenson will keep his August 11 date on the Cloud vs Pascal undercard on Showtime, and the IBF has vowed to go down the rankings list and find him an opponent. (More on that in a second.)
Rodriguez, meanwhile, will be returning August 3 on a Broadway Boxing card in NYC, headlined by Thomas Oosthuizen. Rodriguez's manager Larry Army says that TV rights in South Africa played a big role in their decision here:
"DiBella has Thomas Oosthuizen on this card and he’s already sold the ‘Broadway Boxing’ television rights to South Africa. They also want to build Edwin on that card, so we’re committed. If the South African television rights weren’t attached to the show, we’d probably take the [Stevenson] fight."
One wonders if this isn't one of the flimsiest excuses in recent memory. I'm sure there's something to it, but are the South African TV people really that concerned about having a Dominican from Massachusetts on their boxing TV show?
Rodriguez (21-0, 14 KO) was featured on HBO his last time out in his debut on the network, beating Don George over 10 rather one-sided rounds in a fight that didn't exactly scream out for a return appearance. In making himself a better overall fighter under trainer Ronnie Shields, "La Bomba" has sacrificed a lot of his ability to entertain, and a good amount of his power. Army pretty much admits this, but unlike some nerd like me, the manager is happy about this, because, you know, it makes Rodriguez's chances at long-term success better. What a waste! (I'm kidding. (Kind of.))
Going down the IBF ratings at super middleweight, it's tough to find a likely eliminator dance partner for Stevenson, and the IBF's promise may wind up well-intentioned but ultimately empty. Here's how it broke down on May 5:
1. Not Rated
2. Adonis Stevenson
3. Edwin Rodriguez
4. Arthur Abraham
Abraham has a WBO super middleweight title shot on August 25 against Robert Stieglitz.
5. Carl Froch
Froch is now the IBF beltholder, of course, so let's assume Lucian Bute is here now. Stevenson-Bute isn't going to happen on the Cloud-Pascal undercard. It'd be pretty awesome if it did, but it won't.
6. Thomas Oosthuizen
Stevenson-Oosthuizen has already come up and been voted down. Obviously, too, Oosthuizen is headlining that 8/3 Broadway Boxing show, and South African TV really does want him, without question.
7. James DeGale
Does anyone really see DeGale, who is just settling in at European level right now, coming to Canada to face someone as dangerous as Stevenson? Me either.
8. Kelly Pavlik
Now, this would be fun if Pavlik's got his head on straight, but Kelly just fought one club scrub and is facing another on June 8. It's a big leap, and probably not worth the money for the risk involved.
9. Pablo Farias
Oh boy! A possible opponent! Except Showtime will never approve this guy! Nevermind!
10. Glen Johnson
11. Dyah Davis
12. Andre Dirrell
13. Don George
14. Rowland Bryant
15. Librado Andrade
Your most likely, in order:
- Dyah Davis, should he beat Sakio Bika this Saturday
- Rowland Bryant
- Glen Johnson
- Don George
- Librado Andrade
- Andre Dirrell
If the numbered list worked so that I could rank Andre Dirrell at 37 instead of 6, I would.