NEW YORK — Donovan George has continually watched last weekend’s 10th-round knockout by Orlando Salido over Juan Manuel Lopez with the idea of emulating its ferocious action against Edwin Rodriguez in their HBO-televised super middleweight clash at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
With George (22-1-1, 19 knockouts) being nicknamed “The Bomb” and boxer-puncher Rodriguez (20-0, 14 KOs), of Worcester, Mass., as “La Bomba,” few expect either of the fighters to take a backward step.
George will pursue his third straight knockout since being dropped and battered en route to a technical decision loss to Francisco Sierra in 2010 when he meets Rodriguez on the undercard of a main event featuring RING middleweight champion Sergio Martinez against Matthew Macklin. Born of a Greek father and an Irish mother, George was 20-0, with 17 knockouts before losing to Sierra.
George rebounded from the loss to Sierra with a first-round stoppage of previously unbeaten Cornelius White, who came in with a mark of 16-0 and 15 knockouts, last February. In his last fight, George scored an eighth-round stoppage over Maxell Taylor, who was stopped for the first time on the way to his second loss in 18 fights.
“When you’re talking about Donovan, you’re talking about the 1950s style of fighters. You come from the neighborhood, and you make good, and you make it big, and you fight for your life,” said George’s manager, Mike Michael. “This is what this guys is about, and I don’t think that Edwin has that kind of drive inside of him.”
And as he attempts to keep his streak going, George expressed a certain pride in the fact that the bout takes place on St. Patrick’s Day, meaning that the crowd could be made up of partisan Irish fans.
George shared his thoughts on the fight in this Q&A with RingTV.com.
RingTV.com: Can you talk about your heritage?
Donovan George: My mother’s 100 percent Irish, her parents were both born in Ireland. We were brought up, like, really Irish. But as I got older and turned 18, I was able to choose my own religion and I actually converted to become Greek orthodox.
I just felt that that was more appropriate for me. Now I go to Greek church. So I got the best of both worlds. I went to a Catholic school, and after 18 years, I decided to become Greek orthdox. I became orthodox to get married to my orthodox fiance.
RingTV.com: What does the phrase, ‘Get your Irish up?’ mean to you?
I don’t want to get hit with every punch, but I know that I’m going to get hit. I’m going to bleed. This is my style, and I come to fight.
RingTV.com: Can your fight rival the Salido-Lopez fight?
When Diego Corrales came back and knocked out Jose Luis Castillo, I got goose bumps. I’ve watched that a million times, but I want to be a part of something like that.
I know that it’s going to take a toll on my body. But I’m willing to do that for my fans and to go down in history as one of those types of great fighters.
RingTV.com: Did you watch the Salido-Lopez fight?
DG: Yeah. About five times. I DVR’d it. Every time I watch it, I’ve pictured myself in that situation. But that Salido is a tough dude, man.
I’m like, man, “I hope my fight turns out like this.” Of course, every fighter thrives on being in one of those fights that people talk about. It was a good fight.
Photo by Javiel Centeno, Fightwireimages
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org