Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez stops Sunny Edwards to cap virtuoso performance

Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez turned what many expected to be a competitive fight into a beat down.

Rodriguez walked down, pummeled, knocked down and finally knocked out Sunny Edwards after nine dominating rounds to unify two 112-pound titles and bolster his pound-for-pound credentials Saturday night in Glendale, Arizona.

It was Rodriguez’s last fight as a flyweight and he couldn’t have gone out on a more positive note. How does “unified” sound to the 23-year-old from San Antonio?

“Forgive my language but it sounds f—ing bad a–,” he said afterward. “I’m happy. I worked my ass for this. I knew it was going to come. It was just a matter of time.”

The fight was billed as a matchup of two of the best little boxers in the world, both of whom entered the night undefeated.

Rodriguez (19-0, 12 KOs) is a more complete fighter because of his punching power but Edwards (20-1, 4 KOs) has built a reputation as one of the best technicians in the business.

The early rounds were competitive, as the fighters traded quick, accurate shots in what was akin to a chess match. However, Edwards had a problem: Rodriguez could take his shots but he couldn’t take Rodriguez’s, which led to his demise.

Rodriguez stalked Edwards relentlessly and landed more and more heavy blows as the fight progressed, which slowed the Briton down and gradually broke him down. His left eye was swollen and cuts marked his face by the end.

The deciding blow came in the final seconds of Round 9, a booming right hand that landed on Edwards’ head and put him flat on his face. He made his way to the corner but his handlers had seen enough. That wouldn’t allow him to go out for Round 10.

Rodriguez was magnanimous in victory.

“Sunny is a hell of a fighter,” he said. “He was a champion for a reason, 20-0 for a reason. Maybe he wasn’t used to getting hit that much. I brought something at him that he couldn’t handle.”

The CompuBox statistics help tell the story of Rodriguez’s dominance. Edwards is known as a defensive wizard yet Rodriguez landed an astounding 62.1% of his power punches, 180 of 290 compared to 75 of 230 for Edwards (32.6%).

Edwards pointed out afterward that his swollen left eye – from the second round on – made it difficult for him to see Rodriguez’s right hand coming, which made his mission virtually impossible.

Other than that there wasn’t much he could say.

“Jesse is a hell of fighter,” he said. “I knew that before taking the fight. I knew that during the fight. And I sure as hell know it after the fight. I think it was a great fight, but, yeah, the better man won today.”

So it’s back to 115 pounds for Rodriguez, who made a splash last year by outpointing former beltholder Carlos Cuadras to win a vacant title and then stopping another respected former champ, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.

He’s thinking even bigger now: He wants 115-pound titleholder and future Hall of Famer Juan Francisco Estrada next.

That would be Rodriguez’s biggest challenge yet, at least on paper. However, given his success over such a short period of time, he appears to be taking his place among the Estradas and Chocolatito Gonzalezes of the world.

There’s only one way to find out how he would do at that level.

“I’ve been wanting that fight,” said Rodriguez, referring to Estrada. “Why not now.”


News7g: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button