Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez Has Visions Of Being The Next Lower-Weight Mainstream Attraction
The lower-weight divisions are on fighter’s fire right now. Bantamweight Naoya Inoue is considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. He now has a deal with Top Rank/ESPN. Also, junior bantamweights Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman Gonzalez are well-known among mainstream observers of the sport. Their March 13, 2021 rematch on DAZN was arguably the most anticipated bout of the year so far. Not since the 1990s and the likes of Michael Carbajal, Johnny Tapia, Ricardo, Lopez, ‘Chiquita’ Gonzalez, and Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson have the little guys garnered this much attention. Another current lower-weight fighter with visions of becoming the next breakout attraction is junior flyweight Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez (13-0, 9 KOs). The 21-year-old from San Antonio, Texas was introduced to the sport by his older brother and current WBA ‘Regular’ World 115-pound champion, Joshua Franco.
DEALING WITH ADVERSITY EARLY
Rodriguez started boxing at age nine. It got off to a rocky start as he lost his first three bouts as an amateur. Most kids would have found a way to quit. However, with the support of Joshua and his family, he persevered.
Persistence and hard work would begin to pay off. He became a two-time national champion and won a silver medal at the 2015 Junior Boxing World Championships. Folks started to chirp that he had the talent to become successful at the next level. “Bam” had become one of the most talented prospects on the American amateur boxing scene.
Bypassing a chance to make the U.S. Olympic team, the Texan turned pro in March 2017. In the ring, he is under the tutelage of well-respected trainer Robert Garcia.
FOLKS ARE TAKING NOTICE
His talent is unmistakable among those who have seen him fight. The 5’4” southpaw is advanced beyond his years, as it is not just the physical ability that stands out. He displays footwork and knows how to setup opponents in a manner you do not see from established veterans. Garcia has called Rodriguez the best talent in his stable. It is that guile, coupled with his boxing ability and two-fisted punching power that has the eyes of pundits. To watch him in interviews, the kid has that ‘it’ factor outside the ring as well. He is not scared to express himself.
Signed to Japan’s Akihiro Honda and Teiken Promotions, he is already ranked #2 by the WBO, #3 by the WBA, and #10 by the WBC at 108-pounds. Rodriguez has openly talked about wanting to fight current WBO Junior Flyweight champion Elwin Soto. Insiders feel that he is destined to win world titles in multiple divisions.
It is rare for a smaller-weight fighter to become a mainstream attraction. The last American fighters to do so were Carbajal, Johnson, and Tapia. Jesse Rodriguez has the look to be the next one.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.