Estrada vs. ‘Bam’: A Risky Return for the Aging Champ

By Dan Ambrose - 02/22/2024 - Comments

Negotiations are underway for a fight between WBC super flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada and the young phenom Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez for June or July.

Salvador Rodriguez of ESPN Knockout reports on X talks are progressing for a clash between Estrada (44-3, 28 KOs) and ‘Bam’ Rodriguez (19-0, 12 KOs) for this summer.

Rodriguez will be coming up from 112, where he recently successfully defended his WBO flyweight weight title with a ninth-round stoppage of previously unbeaten IBF champion Sunny Edwards last December in Glendale, Arizona.

The way that Bam Rodriguez looked in that fight, it will be bad news for Juan Francis Estrada when the two meet. Rodriguez is on another level of what’s left of Estrada, and the judges won’t help.

Father Time is Undefeated

The 33-year-old Estrada (44-3, 28 KOs) hasn’t fought in two years since his win over Roman Gonzalez in their trilogy match in December 2022. This is a good business-level fight, but there will be only one winner – ‘Bam’ Rodriguez. Father Time waits for no one, and Estrada is an old 33, worn down from his wars with Roman Gonzalez.

It’s not a good idea for Estrada to take on young talent like ‘Bam’ Rodriguez (19-0, 12 KOs) after a long layoff, as he hasn’t looked in his last three fights. Estrada won all three fights, but you can argue he was given gifts against Chocolatito in 2021 and against Argi Cortes in 2022.

Even a tune-up likely wouldn’t help Estrada because his problems are more related to age and ring wear rather than inactivity. He can still be successful with his career, but not against a fighter like Bam Rodriguez.

This is too high a level of a fighter for Estrada, who was soundly beaten by Roman Gonzalez in their second fight in 2021 but was given a highly controversial decision in their fight in Dallas, Texas.

Rodriguez: The Future is Now

‘Bam’ Rodriguez gets an opportunity to dethrone the aging Estrada and add his scalp to his resume. This is by far the best name Rodriguez will have fought, but not necessarily the most talented fighter. Sunny Edwards is a better fighter than Estrada at this point in Juan Francisco’s career, but Bam wore him down last December to score an impressive ninth-round stoppage.

A more competitive fight than Estrada-Bam would be Estrada vs. Sunny. Now, that would be interesting, but Edwards would likely win unless it’s a controversial decision.