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DiBella Refutes Ward’s Claims on Rodriguez Bout

Lou DiBella

Article By Matthew Paras

As super middleweight champion Andre Ward searches for a return opponent for November, promoter Lou DiBella clarified Tuesday why a potential fight between his fighter, Edwin Rodriguez and Andre Ward fell apart.

Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix first reported that HBO had serious interest in a fight between Ward and Rodriguez – offering a staggering fee of $3.15 million. Having to negotiate the split, Ward’s camp of promoter Dan Goossen and manager James Prince offered Rodriguez a “take it-or-leave it” purse of  $800,000.
That offer, DiBella said, was not going to get the job done.
“[The offer] was not sufficient economically,” DiBella said. “If you look at things in a vacuum – was it a decent number? Yes, but it would not have allowed Edwin to earn his biggest payday. It would have not allowed me to get a big payday. It didn’t reflect the pool of money that HBO was willing to put up a tremendous licensing fee for.
“We know that it’s Ward’s date and we’re the opponent but Edwin has been on TV 10 times,” he added. “It’s the biggest fight available for Andre Ward. We’re not looking to be pigs…we just expected what we believe is fair share of the revenue.”
In his interview with Mannix, Ward expressed frustration in Rodriguez turning the fight down. Ward told SI, “With all due respect to Rodriguez, who is he to start demanding revenue from the gate or foreign rights? What has he done to demand these types of things?” Ward went on to say the offer was the biggest of Rodriguez’s career.
Upon hearing what Ward said for the first time, DiBella, known for his fiery responses, tried to remain calm.
“I know that Andre is a man of God, so I am assuming that it’s a misunderstanding,” DiBella said. “No one, no one on my side of the table – I never asked money from the gate, foreign or sponsorship revenue nor did I ask for any decision making on where the fight would take place.”
DiBella again mentioned that Rodriguez earned more money in the Monte Carlo “Super Four” tournament, where Rodriguez earned a $600,000 dollar purse in the final, stopping Denis Grachev in one. DiBella mentioned the money that included his promotional fee wouldn’t have equaled out to Rodriguez’s biggest payday.
“I would not lie; the numbers would have not been bigger,” DiBella said. “Since when is Andre Ward counting other people’s money? If Andre Ward is being paid appropriately, I would think as the good Christian man he is, then he wouldn’t begrudge other people’s money.”
The negotiations breaking down led to Rodriguez signing with the infamous manager Al Haymon, giving him a better insurance option when HBO refused to discuss any other opponent than Ward. DiBella told Maxboxing that Rodriguez is now targeting Sakio Bika, Badou Jack or Anthony Dirrell for his return fight. He also mentioned that if HBO still wants it, the Ward fight could be an option as well.
“My greatest desire would be to see the Ward fight happen in a way that makes everybody happy,” DiBella said.
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