By Craig Daly: Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn was over the moon with joy on Saturday night, watching Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez (16-0, 11 KOs) successfully defend his WBC super flyweight title with an eighth-round knockout win over #2 contender Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in front of a huge crowd at the Tech Port Arena in San Antonio, Texas.
After the fight, Hearn said he would favor Bam Rodriguez to defeat legends Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez and Juan Francisco Estrada, which is a huge compliment for the young fighter.
It’s great that Rodriguez stopped the former two-time WBC super flyweight champion Rungvisai, but doing the same thing to the likes of Chocolatito & Estrada is a whole different kettle of fish.
The way that Bam Rodriguez was dominating an old-looking Rungvisai tonight might not work against Chocolatito & Estrada.
When Hearn was asked if he could set up a fight for Bam Rodriguez against either of those two legends, he began to stammer, making it clear that it might not be possible.
It wouldn’t be a good idea to have the young 22-year-old Bam Rodriguez’s development halted by throwing him to the sharks, Chocolatito & Estrada. It’s fair to say it would be a feeding frenzy if Hearn put Bam in with those two fighters.
Hearn always made the mistake of matching his young popular fighter Julio Cesar Martinez with Chocolatito last February, and he was totally dominated by the Nicaraguan star.
It would be the same but perhaps even easier for Roman if Hearn matched him against Bam Rodriguez because he doesn’t have any power to speak of, and it would be a mismatch.
Bam wins fights by using angles, jabbing, throwing pot shots, and tying up his opponents. That style isn’t going to work against Chocolatito or Estrada. They’ve seen that simplistic style many times during their careers, and they know how to defeat that approach.
Bam Rodriguez stopped Rungvisai (50-6-1, 43 KOs) on his feet in round eight after opening up with a salvo of shots at the Tech Port Arena in San Antonio, Texas.
“This is the youngest champion in boxing and might be already a pound-for-pound great,” said Eddie Hearn to DAZN moments after Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez’s eighth-round knockout win over former two-time WBA super flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.
“From 108 pounds to 115 pounds, honestly, I don’t think I back any fighter to beat him, and I’m talking about some of the greats,” Hearn continued. “Chocolatito, Estrada, these feel like they’re a long way away, but honestly, Would you put those guys as a favorite against Bam Rodriguez now?”
If Hearn wants to test his theory about Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez beating Chocolatito & Estrada, he can always set those fights up. Both of those fighters would gladly take a fight with the greenish Bam Rodriguez if Hearn wants to make them a nice offer.
It’s probably not a good idea for Hearn to let Chocolatito & Estrada anywhere near Bam Rodriguez, because, unlike Rungvisai and Carlos Cuadras, they’re not shot to pieces.
Those two stars are still fighting at a high level in their careers, and as I said, Bam Rodriguez doesn’t possess the power, speed, or technical skills to beat those types of talents.
If Hearn waits three to five years for Chocolatito & Estrada to age more, Bam Rodriguez might be able to beat them at that point.
It’s hard to say whether Bam will still be a major player at 112 or 115 by that point. He might not even be fighting in those weight classes.
After Bam’s win over Cuadras, he reportedly put on a lot of weight, which he had to take off for this fight. Bam is likely to grow out of the 115-lb division within a year or two, which will put him at 118, where he can challenge Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue for his titles.
“He can go down to 108, he can go down to 112. But literally, there’s not one fighter that I can put to Robert Garcia and Jesse Rodriguez that they wouldn’t accept a challenge against,” said Hearn.
There’s nobody at 108 or 112 worth fighting, so it’s pointless for Bam Rodriguez to return to those weight classes. Rey Martinez was already exposed by Chocolatito, so Bam Rodriguez gains nothing in fighting him.
“He’s here to be great. He’s here for the legacy and here to be remembered,” said Hearn. “Like I said, these fighters come around once in a generation at this kind of age. He’s a special, special talent,” said Hearn about Bam Rodriguez.
“So, you’ve worked with Chocolatito, you’ve worked with Juan Francisco Estrada. Can we get him those fights?” said Chris Mannix in putting Hearn on the spot on whether he can produce Chocolatito & Estrada fights for Bam Rodriguez.
“Yeah, it’s all about the speed they want to go,” said Hearn. “With a fighter like this, you’d normally take the time and let them get the experience, you’d drop to 108, you’d drop to 112.
“But honestly, I don’t see Estrada beating Jesse Rodriguez. Chocolatito is a legend of the sport, but it’s down to Robert and down to Jesse.
“Down at 112, he can unify and he can do it at 115, and he can do it at 108. This kid can do anything he wants to do, and there’s a long, long career ahead. He’s a very young guy, but all the ability to be a pound-for-pound great. The skills are incredible, the jab is incredible.
“Robert and the team has done an incredible job. He’s a pleasure to work with. It’s been great to come here tonight. This city is going to see massive Jesse Rodriguez fights in the future,” said Hearn.
“Are you going to bring him back here?” said Mannix wanting to know if Hearn will bring Bam Rodriguez back to San Antonio, Texas.
“Absolutely, this is the first time,” said Hearn. “He’s a baby, he’s still learning. It was a lovely turnout tonight. We’re going to keep getting bigger and bigger and keep building.
The great thing is, when you’re promoting a fighter as special as Jesse, you can go into all these mega-fights knowing you’ve got the cream of the crop,” said Hearn.