Edwin Rodriguez proved to be a polished, finished product tonight in the HBO Boxing After Dark, and opponent Jason Escalera just wasn't, overwhelmed by Rodriguez's size, strength, and skills, as Rodriguez battered him for seven full rounds including a tone-setting opening round blitz, before Steve Smoger pulled the plug at 12 seconds of the eighth round when a left hook exploded Escalera's right ear.
Rodriguez (22-0, 15 KO) was just way too good tonight, but he was also far too big. Rodriguez put on 20 pounds to come in at 186 pounds on the HBO unofficial scales, and the size difference was quite noticeable.
After the first round, where it was 10-8 without a knockdown for Rodriguez if you were being generous to Escalera, the tempo did slow down some, but it was all Edwin Rodriguez. Escalera (13-1-1, 12 KO) was game, but just overmatched in this fight. He's got tools, but a ton of work left to do.
Rodriguez landed 231 of 537 punches overall (43%), connecting on 195 of 335 power punches (58%). Escalera was just 95/440 total (22%), and 65/222 (29%) on power shots.
After the fight, the 27-year-old Rodriguez called out both Kelly Pavlik and Jean Pascal, with promoter Lou DiBella pushing that agenda. Both fights would be very interesting, I think, and we'd find out a lot more about Rodriguez that we don't know for sure just yet. If he's ready, he's ready.
HBO Boxing After Dark Results: