FightPost Boxer of the Week: Jesse Rodríguez
By Gary Kittilsen
On what was a relatively quiet weekend for boxing, one blue-chip prospect, who was given the highest praise, captured the attention of the boxing world and put the smaller weight classes on notice.
The 20-year-old Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez of San Antonio, Texas, scored a sensational first-round knockout in under two minutes of game veteran Janiel Rivera of Puerto Rico.
Rivera had just gone the distance with Duke Micah, a highly touted super-flyweight prospect. Rivera was supposed to test Bam, and push him, take him deep into the fight. Rodriguez wasn’t having any of that and got his rugged opponent out in less than one round to move his record to 12-0 (8).
Rodriguez also joins his older brother WBA super-flyweight “Regular” champ Joshua “The Professor” Franco as a winner of our Fighter of the Week award. Franco won the award back in June when he upset Andrew Maloney.
Jesse Rodriguez returned to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for the first time since his older brother captured a world title, something Rodriguez describes as “One of the happiest days of my life.” This time it was his turn to hand in a sensational performance of his own and he was determined to do just that. He told trainer Robert Garcia in the dressing room this is the best he has ever felt.
As soon as the bell rang to start the fight the 20-year-old got right to work, dropping Rivera less than a minute into the fight with a four-punch combination that started with a thudding right hook to the body and culminated with a right hook upstairs.
Rivera got to his feet, however, just 40 seconds later a blistering straight left dropped him again. The game Rivera got to his feet once more but the writing was on the wall. The Texan rushed in and nailed him with two more picture-perfect left hands that dropped Rivera for a third and final time as referee Russel Mora skipped the count and immediately waived halt to the bout. Giving Rodriguez a first-round stoppage victory.
Although a native of the Alamo City, Rodriguez trains in Riverside, California with the world-renowned trainer Robert Garcia. In a stable that includes world champs such as Jose Carlos Ramirez and Joshua Franco as well as Mikey Garcia and Vergil Ortiz and many others.
Garcia gave Bam the ultimate compliment saying that he is the most talented fighter in the stable. If you ask fellow San Antonians like Franco or Hector Tanajara or Mario Barrios they would share that sentiment and tell you that Bam Rodriguez is the best fighter in their city which happens to be the best fight city in the USA.
It’s few and far between, that a fighter from the really small weight classes captures the attention of the casual fight fans, especially in the US, Choclatito Gonzalez, Michael Carbajal and Ricardo Lopez are a few that we’re able to do it. If a little guy is going to have commercial appeal and commercial success they’d better knock people out! “Bam”, can certainly do that. He has a staggeringly high KO percentage for a 108-pounder and is already ranked in the top three by multiple organizations and should be fighting for a world title by 2021, possibly against Elwin Soto for the WBO strap.
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank