By Jim Calfa: Eddie Hearn says he wants to set up a unification fight at 115 next between WBA/WBC Franchise super flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada and newly crowned Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez next for San Antonio, Texas.
The 22-year-old Rodriguez (15-0, 10 KOs) defeated Carlos Cuadras by a 12 round unanimous decision last Saturday night to win the vacant WBC super flyweight title t the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Thie scores were 115-112, 117-110, and 117-110.
Rodriguez now has the possibility of fighting Estrada, the winner of the Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez vs. Julio Cesar Martinez, or defending against his mandatory Srisaket Sor Rungvisai next.
WBC may order Rodriguez vs. Rungvisai
The World Boxing Council could the decision out of Hearn and ‘Bam’ Rodriguez’s hands if they order him to defend against his WBC mandatory Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (50-5-1, 43 KOs) next.
Unlike Cuadras, Rungvisai is still in his prime, and that would be a tough fight for the much smaller & weaker ‘Bam’ Rodriguez. Rungvisai punches like a featherweight.
He’s like a smaller version of Golovkin at 115, and it’ll be difficult for Bam Rodriguez to defeat the Thai fighter without embarrassing himself by running from him.
There were times last Saturday night when the Phoenix crowd booed ‘Bam’ Rodriguez due to all the movement that he was doing from rounds 5 through 12 to avoid getting hit by the bigger and stronger Cuadras.
Rungvisai’s power is on another level than Cuadras’, and there’s no way that Bam Rodriguez will be able to stay in the pocket against him without being torn apart.
That’s not the glamorous fight that Hearn hopes to make for ‘Bam’ Rodriguez, but it’s just as dangerous for him.
Cuadras has lost 5 out of his last eight fights
Rodriguez dropped the 33-year-old Cuadras with an uppercut in the third round after using his quick feet to get in a position where he wasn’t prepared to be hit.
In reacting to the 22-year-old ‘Bam’ Rodriguez’s win over former WBC 115-lb Cuadras, Hearn said he could beat Estrada, Chocolatito, Rungivisai, and Rey Martinez.
Indeed, Hearn said he believes Bam Rodriguez can beat everyone in the super flyweight division now. Bam’s victory over the past his prime Cuadras appears to have gone to his head.
Cuadras was a good fighter during his prime, but he had lost four out of his last seven fights going into his match against ‘Bam’ Rodriguez, and he wasn’t the same guy he’d been six years ago when he was at his best.
Just looking at Cuadras’ appearance, he seems much older than the young fighter he’d been during the zenith of his career from 2014 to 2016.
Comparing how Cuadras looked in 2016 to how he did last night, it’s two different people. Cuadras’ loss to Roman Gonzalez in 2016 took something out of him, and he’s struggled ever since that fight.
Hearn: Rodriguez could beat everybody at 115
“It was unbelievable. In the first round, I thought, ‘He’s just too small,’” said Hearn to Fighthype about Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez’s win over Cuadras last Saturday night.
“The angles, people talk about, you know, almost Lomachenko-esque in there, but with a bit more Mexican flavor,” Hearn continued about ‘Bam’ Rodriguez’s win.
“It was just a brilliant performance for someone so young to go in against someone two divisions tighter, so experienced, so strong,” said Hearn about the 22-year-old Jesse Rodriguez taking on the 14-year professional Cuadras, who is a former WBC 115-lb champion and much older at 33.
“He [Jesse Rodriguez] may beat everybody in that division [super flyweight], and he said before this fight that if he won it, he would vacate it and move back to 108. I don’t see that happening.
“You may make him a favorite against all of them; Chocolatito, Rungvisai, Estrada,” said Hearn.
It would be a good idea for Hearn to step back and take a good look at the fighter that Bam Rodriguez beat last Saturday night in Cuadras.
The former WBC 115-lb champion Cuadras is about to turn 34, hadn’t fought in 16 months, and was coming off an 11th round knockout loss to Juan Estrada.
Moreover, as I previously mentioned, Cuadras had lost 4 out of his last seven fights coming into the match with Bam Rodriguez, meaning that he was no longer an elite-level fighter.
It would be logical for Hearn to be saying that Bam Rodriguez beats all the top fighters at 115 if he’d already defeated one of them, but he hasn’t done that.
Cuadras is completely over-the-hill, and beating him proved nothing for Rodriguez. Four years ago, McWilliams Arroyo dominated Cuadras, beating him more impressively in their fight in 2018 compared to how Bam Rodriguez did last Saturday night.
After Arroyo’s win over Cuadras, no one said that he’s the #1 fighter at 115. Fans concluded that Cuadras was shot, and that was four years ago.
Hearn wants Estrada vs. Bam Rodriguez
“I love the Estrada fight. That’s a brilliant fight for him,” said Hearn about wanting to match WBA/WBC Franchise115-lb champion Juan Francisco Estrada against Bam Rodriguez next.
“Sometimes you just got to roll with it when you’re as good as that kid [Jesse Rodriguez] and see what you can achieve. Not really because I think he can beat everybody,” Hearn said when asked if it would be a good idea to take it slowly with Bam Rodriguez.
“When you’re as good as that [why take it slowly]. Him against Estrada is a brilliant fight, or him against the winner of Chocolatito against [Julio Cesar] Martinez is a brilliant fight.
“Rungvisai may get called as the [WBC] mandatory; that’s another brilliant fight. I mean, there are so many great fights out there for him,” Hearn said of Bam Rodriguez. “There are other champions. He can move down to flyweight, or he can go and win a title at light flyweight.
“I think the glamour fights for him or at 115. Estrada,” said Hearn when asked what fight out of all of them would he like to make for Bam Rodriguez next. “Yeah, we signed him last week,” said Hearn when asked if he’ll speak to Rodriguez about whether he’d like to fight Juan Estrada next.
“It looked like we set the whole thing up, but we haven’t. We got to take him [Bam Rodriguez] back to San Antonio. Him against Estrada in San Antonio is a big fight, and he’s really good.
“To come through tonight and say that he might be a favorite against Estrada, who is a pound-for-pound top fighter, it’s pretty impressive,” said Hearn.
“I’ll be watching that fight, and maybe I’ll be getting the winner,” said Bam Rodriguez on next month’s March 5th fight between Chocolatito and Rey Martinez.
If Hearn gets his wish and Estrada agrees to fight Bam Rodriguez next, he could regret taking this gamble. Estrada is a much better fighter than Cuadras, and he won’t struggle as he did with all the movement that Bam Rodriguez uses against him.
For Rodriguez to beat a fighter like Estrada, he’ll need to do it the old-fashioned way by staying in the pocket and outworking him the way Chocolatito did.
It’s doubtful whether Bam Rodriguez can fight that way against a talent like Estrada without getting worn down and stopped. The same goes for Bam fighting Chocolatito, Julio Cesar Martinez, and Rungvisai.