EDWIN RODRIGUEZ has trained six days a week for a total of 10 weeks – eight weeks in Houston, one in San Francisco and then the final week back in Houston. He does his boxing work with head trainer Ronnie Shields, or sparring, in the morning every day and strength work in the afternoon Monday-Friday. He runs early in the morning on non-sparring days, swimming in the evening – or, on sparring days, Edwin does his roadwork in the evening.
Here, in his own words, are the things Rodriguez has done that he believes will make the difference against Ward.
SPARRING YOUNG LIONS
I spar Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays around 10am. We brought in Jonathan Nelson who is 18-0 and a standout amateur; he’s on the same show against Brandon Gonzales, and the 13-0 Lamar Ross from North Carolina. These fellow undefeated fighters bring out the competitiveness in sparring.
ALTITUDE TRAINING AT SEA LEVEL
I spent one week in San Francisco with [strength and conditioning guru] Victor Conte doing scientific high-altitude training. I was using a Hypoxico machine which changes the air molecules and makes it like working out at high altitude. You have a mask on your face and the machine has a flow of air coming in, then you breathe out. You’re working out at sea level but it’s like working out at altitude, so it helps you to recover faster and catch that second breath. I did it for my last fight and felt great in the ring. I also spend time in an hyperbaric chamber. It contans high-oxygen air. Normal air is 20.9 per cent oxygen but using a mask in the chamber, the oxygen content can be up to 95 per cent. It helps you recover a lot faster; there have been studies that showed long-term injury, when you use a chamber, can heal up to 50 per cent faster. Recovering from a hard workout session usually takes two days but with the chamber you can recover in half that time. It’s helped me a lot. I’m healing, recuperating. I spend 45 minutes a day in the chamber; it’s pretty cool. I want to be the best I can be.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH WINNERS
I do my training at Plex Performance in Houston. It’s a big facility used by NFL players and pro baseball players. There are college kids trying to make the NFL, a few soccer players. It’s a pretty cool place. They only recently added boxing with Ronnie Shields as the head trainer. Everyone has the same motivation, the same drive, and it’s good to be around people with their own goals. It’s a great feeling being around them, even high-school kids trying to work out hard and get into a good college, then the college kids trying to get into the NFL, and the NFL players trying to maintain.
MAKE SURE YOUR S&C COACH PUSHES YOU
My S&C coach is Champ Glory, that’s his real name. This is my first fight with him. Working with him has been really good. He’s brought in that motivational aspect, the way he teaches and trains is very motivational; a lot of NFL players train with him. It’s not just the workout itself but how he does it. It’s always different but with the same muscles, to keep me on my toes.
TRAIN FOR EXPLOSIVITY
We rarely do weights, it’s more about agility. We’re aiming for that quickness in reactions and to build that snap. Every boxer goes from 0-100 [mph], so there’s a lot of quick acceleration, recovery, then we go back at it. It’s very explosive. That’s what we need for boxing. We use our own bodies, resistance bands and when we do use weights, they are very small weights. We do a lot of ladder work, to mantain speed in the footwork, plus sprints. You don’t want to get used to the same thing, you want to shock your body.
FIGHT AT THE OPTIMAL WEIGHT
Fighting at 168lbs is perfect for me. I’ve been fighting at 165 before, and I couldn’t make 160 but I’m big enough , strong enough and fast enough for supermiddleweight. Making weight is not easy but it’s something all fighters have to work towards. I stay fcused and have a good conditioning programme. I do my own diet, I’ve learned from having had so many nutritionists before. I eat high protein, low carbohydrate but I’ll eat more carbs on sparring days for energy. I eat a lot of vegetables, drink a lot of water, eat five small meals a day with high protein and lower carbs. You should use carbs more for a really intense workout.
SWITCH UP YOUR GAMEPLAN
A lot of previous opponents weren’t expecting the Andre Ward they got – he’s a lot different from the outside – and they didn’t get the right plan. He’s good at being really far away or so close the opponent can’t get their own shots off.
Versus Carl Froch he was so far away that Froch couldn’t find him then suddenly he was so close it was hard for Carl to get his punches off. You’ve got to go in there and continue to switch your gameplan, not stick to just one even if it’s working, because Ward is a very smart fighter and he’ll start to read you.