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Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez battles Cristian Gonzalez on April 8 for WBO 112-lb title

Image: Jesse 'Bam' Rodriguez battles Cristian Gonzalez on April 8 for WBO 112-lb title

By Dan Ambrose: Former WBC super flyweight champion Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez (17-0, 11 KOs) fights #2 WBO ranked contender Cristian Gonzalez (15-1, 5 KOs) for the vacant World Boxing Organization 112-lb title on April 8th in the main event on DAZN in San Antonio, Texas.

It’s difficult to know how good Bam Rodriguez’s opponent, 23-year-old Cristian Gonzalez, is because he’s been facing obscure opposition in Mexico his entire six-year professional career and has yet to face a recognizable name.

With that said, the flyweight division is an odd duck, as even unknown fighters can appear out of nowhere and do well in this weight class without having done anything of significance during their careers. For that reason, you can’t rule out a victory for Gonzalez against Bam Rodriguez.

The WBO flyweight title was recently held by the talented Junto Nakatani (24-0, 18 KOs), who vacated the strap to move up to 115.

Did Bam wait until Nakatani vacated?

Some boxing fans believe that the 22-year-old ‘Bam’ Rodriguez and his wily promoter Eddie Hearn conveniently waited until Nakatani vacated rather than risk getting beaten up by him and suffering a crushing defeat.

Granted, Bam Rodriguez is a good fighter, but he’s not shown the talent that would give him any chance against a fighter of Nakatani’s level.

It’s one thing for Bam to defeat old-timers Srisaket Sor Rungvisai & Carlos Cuadras and quite another to try that same feat against a prime 25-year-old Nakatani, who has been knocking out everyone and is an unstoppable machine.

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If this was a case of clever match-making by Bam Rodriguez’s promoter Hearn, he was wise to wait until Nakatani relinquished the WBO 112-lb belt rather than throw the youngster in with the Japanese knockout artist and watch what would be a feeding frenzy.

Some boxing fans think the rationale for Bam Rodriguez’s recent decision to vacate his WBC super flyweight title was to swerve Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez and Juan Francisco Estrada, as he would have been pressured to fight one or both of those guys had he stayed at 115.

Bam Rodriguez’s recent wins:

  • Israel Gonzalez
  • Srisaket Sor Rungvisai
  • Carlos Cuadras
  • Jose Alejandro Burgos
  • Saul Juarez

Bam Rodriguez had A LOT of problems in his last fight, struggling mightily to defeat Israel Gonzalez by a much closer than expected 12 round unanimous decision.

Should Bam have been disqualified?

Rodriguez got away with throwing a lot of low blows in the contest and was only penalized once. With the high number of low blows that Bam Rodriguez threw in the fight, a disqualification would have made sense because the shots south of the border impacted the fight.

The judges scored 118–109, 117–110, and 114–113, all for Bam Rodriguez. Sadly, the first two scores didn’t match the fight, as it was a razor-close contest.

Bam did enough to win, but just barely, and he would have lost if the referee had taken multiple points away for all the low blows that he threw in the fight.

Given how many low blows Bam landed in the fight, giving Israel a rematch would have been the fair thing to do because he would have won the fight if the referee had done a better job policing the fouls or if he’d disqualified Jesse.

Hopefully, Bam Rodriguez keeps it clean against Cristian Gonzalez and doesn’t resort to throwing nonstop low blows, as we saw in his last fight against Israel Gonzalez.

“Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez will meet Cristian Gonzalez for the WBO’s vacant flyweight title on April 8 in San Antonio,” said Mike Coppinger to ESPN.

“[Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie] Hearn hoped to match Rodriguez with [Juan Francisco] Estrada and perhaps [Roman] ‘Chocolatito’ [Gonzalez] in 2023, but those plans are on hold for now while he campaigns at 112 pounds.”

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