(January 5, 2011 – New York, NY) Recently, the name of DiBella Entertainment’s grand champion Sergio Martinez has been turning up left and right, as publication after publication name their 2010 Fighter of the Year. But also getting some ink are two young super middleweights in the DiBella Entertainment (“DBE”) stable: Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez (17-0, 13 KOs) and Marcus “Too Much” Johnson (20-0, 15 KOs), as they have both been recognized as top prospects to keep an eye on in 2011 by various media outlets.
Rodriguez was active in 2010, going 4-0 with each of his wins coming by way of knockout. He made his debut on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights in March with a first round knockout of normally rugged veteran George Armenta, and then made his ShoBox debut in April with a six round drubbing of Kevin Engel. Both those wins came via body shot. He closed the year by capturing the WBC USNBC title with a ninth round stoppage of James McGirt, Jr. on ShoBox.
“Receiving these honors validates the hard work I put in at the gym,” said Rodriguez, who returns to the ring next Friday night against Aaron Pryor, Jr. on Friday Night Fights. “To have guys like Dan Rafael and George Kimball write the things they have about me is humbling and it only makes me want to do more.”
Johnson fought twice in the year, both on Showtime’s ShoBox series. In April, he decisively beat previously unbeaten Derek Edwards, winning a twelve-round decision. He followed up that performance with an impressive third round stoppage on hard-nosed Kevin Engel in November.
“This is pretty exciting,” said Johnson. “I am looking forward to this upcoming year and making some more noise. I am going to keep striving and keep my record intact.”
Dan Rafael of ESPN.com listed both Rodriguez and Johnson in his annual prospects watch list, mentioning that Rodriguez “had an excellent year, going 4-0 and winning each fight by knockout” and cooed at Johnson’s size and skill, saying the Houston native “is built like a truck, puts his punches together well and has solid power.”
Hall of Fame boxing scribe George Kimball of the Boston Herald named Rodriguez the New England Fighter of the Year over former Olympian Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade and former Olympic alternate Danny O’Connor “on the basis of experience, level of competition, and the fact that as a sparring partner, in the past two months alone he made a pair of world champions — Froch and Jean Pascal — both say ‘Uncle.’”
Jake Donovan of BoxingScene.com listed Rodriguez in his honorable mention of top prospects, hinting that Rodriguez may have saved his best performance for last in his “one-sided beatdown of James McGirt Jr on Shobox.”
Peter Czymbor of 8countnews gave Rodriguez his New England Fighter of the Year honors, for living up to his billing despite being the “most hyped amateur turned pro to come out of the region in years.” He even suggested a showdown between Rodriguez and Johnson.
Cyzmbor also put Rodriguez on his list of the top prospects entering 2011, heaping high praise upon the unbeaten super middleweight saying, “He may be the best body puncher to come out of New England since ‘Irish’ Micky Ward.”
Bob Hanna of the New Bedford Times in Massachusetts also hailed Rodriguez as the New England Fight of the Year by virtue of certifying himself “as one of the top prospects in the country.”