Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez has secured a new division title…
The 23-year-old Mexican American boxer, who moved down to flyweight, secured the WBO‘s vacant 112-pound championship with a unanimous-decision win over Cristian Gonzalez (118-110, 117-111, 116-112) at the Boeing Center at Tech Port in San Antonio.
But when Rodriguez spoke in his post-fight interview, it was immediately clear that not all went right for the promising boxer in another hometown victory. Rodriguez said he battled through a broken jaw against a very feisty opponent to add to his growing list of accolades.
Rodriguez became a two-division world champion, following up a year in which he won the WBC‘s junior bantamweight title. But despite the feat, he said he wasn’t pleased with his showing.
“It wasn’t the best performance,” Rodriguez said in a brief postfight interview with DAZN. “I’ will admit that.”
Rodriguez (18-0, 11 KOs) was bleeding from his mouth by the end of the fight and said he could barely speak after he suffered the injury against Gonzalez (15-2, 5 KOs), who was a heavy underdog entering the fight.
“I guess I got caught with my mouth open,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said the injury likely occurred sometime around the sixth round. It came during a stretch when Rodriguez was controlling the action in the ring, peppering Gonzalez with a barrage of body shots that opened up power punches to the head.
But as the fight continued, Gonzalez regained some of the form he showed early in the fight, sticking Rodriguez with straight punches from the outside while he constantly moved around the ring.
Rodriguez’s injury complicated what was expected to be a showcase performance for someone who had knockout wins over Carlos Cuadras and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in 2022, with both of those performances coming in San Antonio.
It also makes things a bit tricky for Rodriguez’s long-term outlook.
Saturday night marked his first fight in the flyweight division. Before the fight, Matchroom Boxing chairman Eddie Hearn pointed out that with a Rodriguez victory, three of the four champions in the 112-pound weight class would be promoted by Matchroom. And with the matchmaking relatively simple, Hearn was eyeing a potential undisputed championship fight.
“We want to wrap up these belts with one champion,” Hearn told DAZN.
Hearn said he wanted Rodriguez to face Sunny Edwards, the IBF champion based out of London. Rodriguez confirmed those plans after his win against Gonzalez.
“That’s the only option,” Rodriguez said.
However, that option might have to wait. After Saturday’s fight, Hearn told DAZN that with Rodriguez’s broken jaw and the recovery timeline, Edwards might need an interim bout before a potential showdown with the newest flyweight champion.
“It’s just about timing now,” Hearn said. “Obviously, with that injury, if that jaw is broken, that’s going to keep him out probably the back end of the year. Sunny needs to fight.”