Estrada vs. Bam Rodriguez: A Business Matchup on June 29th

By Dan Ambrose - 03/28/2024 - Comments

It’s now official that WBC super flyweight champion Juan Franciso Estrada (44-3, 28 KOs) will defend his belt against unified two-belt 112-lb champ Jessie ‘Bam’ Rodriguez (19-0, 12 KOs) in the main event on June 29th on DAZN at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Much of the buzz around this match-up has fizzled long ago.

If there was a way of teleporting Bam Rodriguez to 2012, when Estrada was at his best, this would be a tremendous fight, but not now. Estrada has lost too much from his game and looks like a shadow of the fighter who lost to Roman Chocolatito Gonzalez for the first time.

The only thing interesting now about the Estrada-Bam fight is the passing of the torch, but even that doesn’t prove that Bam is the best at 115.

A Fight For Popularity, Not Legacy

This is more of a business-level match-up than one that proves anything. The real talent at 115 is IBF champion Fernando Martinez. He’s the phenom in the division now, but he’s not as popular as the old-timer, Juan Franciso, because he’s from Argentina and hasn’t been around for a million years yet.

It would have been nice for Bam to fight Fernando Martinez or Estrada to face him so they eliminate one of them. They weren’t going to do that, though, because this is business. Fernando is too good, but not well known, so the money wouldn’t be huge for Estrada or Bam to face him and potentially get beaten.

Estrada’s on Borrowed Time

Estrada has looked washed in his last three fights, and it’ll be interesting to see what he has left at 33. He’ll be turning 34 in April, and he doesn’t appear to have anything left in the tank at this late stage of his career.

If you count his gift decision against Roman Gonzalez as a loss from their second clash in 2021, as many fans do, you can argue that Estrada has lost two out of his last three fights. Chocolatito holds the edge over Estrada 2-1 and probably would have won the third fight if he were younger. Estrada has never been as good as Chocolatito, but he got the robbery in their second fight, so he’s technically up 2-1 in their rivalry.

The Estrada vs. Bam fight was announced a month ago, but it’s now official. There would be more excitement today if the fight hadn’t already been pre-announced and talked about by fans eager to see this match-up.

Staging the fight in Phoenix is a good idea for Bam Rodriguez’s management, as Estrada was involved in a highly controversial win over Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez, where he was completely dominated but still given a 12-round split decision victory in March 2021 in Dallas, Texas.

Hearn’s Spin

“What a fight this is,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “When the best fight the best, excitement is guaranteed – and there’s no doubt that these are two of the best fighters on the planet.

As you can see, Eddie is going overboard with his praise of the Estrada vs. Bam fight. One of these two fighters, Estrada, has been shot for years since 2021, and the other, Bam, is still unproven.

Instead of Bam fighting the aging Estrada, he should face the King of the super flyweight division, Fernando Martinez. But again, this is business, and Estrada is well known to the older fans, who remember him from his earlier years in his first fight against Chocolatito and his bouts against Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Carlos Cuadras.