Edwin Rodriguez emerged as the Million Dollar Super 4 tournament winner today in Monte Carlo, stopping Denis Grachev at 2:50 of the first round to earn the $600,000 lion's share of the purse.
Rodriguez (24-0, 16 KO) looked more like the "La Bomba" of old than the more refined boxer that trainer Ronnie Shields has developed the past few years, as he assaulted Grachev (13-2-1, 8 KO) from the opening bell. Grachev went down twice, and was taking a further beating when referee Stanley Christodoulou stepped in to stop the one-sided stomping.
Though the win isn't going to springboard Rodriguez into American stardom, it would be foolish to underrate what a $600,000 payday and a pair of solid wins this year mean for his career. He's been seen on HBO in the past, and this is the sort of win that only makes him more attractive. At 168, he looks a legitimate young contender now, and there should be plenty of opportunities for him to further make his mark.
Grachev, it should be noted, is the guy who stopped Ismayl Sillakh, ended Zsolt Erdei's undefeated run, and gave Lucian Bute hell over 12 rounds late last year. He's crude, sure, but he's been effective against quality opponents. Rodriguez trucked him.
Khabib Allakhverdiev (19-0, 9 KO) retained his WBA junior welterweight title with an 11th round stoppage win over veteran and former titlist Souleymane M'baye (40-5-1, 22 KO). M'baye was on the floor in the second and eighth rounds, and never posed a serious threat to the titleholder.
Cruiserweight prospect Dmytro Kucher lost for the first time as a pro, upset by Ilunga Makabu in a 10-round battle on scores of 115-113, 115-114, and 114-114. Makabu (14-1, 13 KO) won for the first time without stopping his opponent. Kucher falls to 21-1 (15 KO).
Max Bursak (27-1-1, 12 KO) outclassed Prince Arron (23-5-1, 5 KO) to retain the European middleweight title on scores of 116-109, 117-108, and 119-106.