Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez to Defend WBC Title Against Israel Gonzalez in September

Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez‘s breakout 2022 campaign continues…

The 22-year-old Mexican American professional boxer will defend his WBC super flyweight versus Israel Gonzalez in the chief support bout to Canelo AlvarezGennadiy Golovkin 3 on September 17 in Las Vegas, Matchroom Boxing announced Monday.

Jesse "Bam" RodriguezRodriguez (16-0 11 KOs) scored the biggest win of his budding career last month with an eight-round TKO of Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. Rungvisai owns wins over future Hall of Famers Roman Gonzalez (“Chocolatito“) and Juan Francisco Estrada, and Bam Rodriguez was able to pick him apart at 22 years old in a star-making performance.

The victory followed a decision win over Carlos Cuadras in February when Rodriguez, who fights out of San Antonio, captured the WBC title. (Estrada is the franchise champion.)

“Having the chance to fight on Mexican Independence Day weekend as the co-main to Canelo-GGG is truly special, and I plan on putting on another spectacular performance and continuing to build my legacy,” said Rodriguez, ESPN‘s No. 3 junior bantamweight. “Each fight now is more important than the last. It’s not about just winning; it’s how you win. That’s mine and my coach Robert Garcia‘s job now; to look sensational each and every time we step in the ring and continue to show the world that I am one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet.”

Gonzalez, who fights out of Mexico, has lost in each of his world title challenges. He was stopped by Jerwin Ancajas in 2018 and outpointed by Kal Yafai later that year. Most recently, Gonzalez (28-4-1 11 KOs) dropped a unanimous decision to Chocolatito in 2020.

“I want to thank the champ Jesse Rodriguez for the opportunity,” said Gonzalez, 25. “I know I’ll take full advantage of this and make my dream come true of becoming a world champion.”

Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez Defeats Srisaket Sor Rungvisai to Retain WBC Junior Bantamweight Title

Jesse Bam Rodriguez is keeping his title…

Jesse "Bam" Rodriguez“This is the youngest champ in boxing and he already might be a pound-for-pound great,” said Rodriguez’s promoter, Eddie Hearn. “He’s here for legacy; he’s here to be remembered.”

It was a dazzling display from Rodriguez, who headlined in his hometown for the first time. He used an excellent southpaw jab, beautiful footwork and plenty of angles to keep Rungvisai off-rhythm and at the end of his power shots.

Rungvisai (50-6-1, 43 KOs) owns victories over a pair of future Hall of Famers in their primes — Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez and Juan Francisco Estrada — so it was particularly impressive the way Rodriguez was able to pick off his heavy shots and win every round in dominant fashion.

The plodding 35-year-old from Thailand needs to set his feet to deliver his power shots, but Rodriguez never allowed him to do so. He presented a moving target, and on the rare occasion Rungvisai did close distance, “Bam” turned him around.

“In the third round I felt his power wasn’t the same,” said Rodriguez, who entered the fight rated No. 5 by ESPN at 115 pounds. ” … That’s when I decided to take over. … Having Robert Garcia in my corner is a huge advantage.”

Rodriguez, whose brother Joshua Franco holds a secondary title at 115 pounds, said he could campaign at 112 pounds before returning to the weight class.

“He’s a very underrated fighter and it’s a matter of time until he gets his shot,” Rodriguez said of Franco, who is ESPN’s No. 6 junior bantamweight.

Rungvisai, ESPN’s No. 3 boxer at 115 pounds, lost for just the second time since a 2014 technical decision defeat to Carlos Cuadras. And it was Cuadras whom Rodriguez defeated in February to announce his arrival and pick up his first world title, though Estrada remains the WBC’s franchise champion in the weight class.