The prevailing questions heading into Saturday night’s fight between Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez (16-0, 11 KOs) and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (50-6-1, 43 KOs) had to do with power.
It was thought that Rungvisai, who is well known for his highlight-reel knockout of Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez in their rematch, could end things with his power, while the smaller Bam Rodriguez had to box intelligently for 12 rounds and keep Rungvisai off of him.
At least that’s what many people thought.
The moneyline odds, which had Rodriguez as a heavy -500 favorite heading into the fight, suggested that Las Vegas knew something many others didn’t.
Rodriguez backed those odds up in emphatic fashion, surgically breaking down Rungvisai and stopping him in Round 8 to defend his WBC title and cement himself as one of the best little men in boxing.
This outcome did not seem to be in the realm of possibility, especially given the fact that Bam had only fought once at 115 pounds since moving up two weight classes from 108 pounds.
In his first fight at Super Flyweight, Rodriguez took on Carlos Cuadras on just five days notice and won the vacant WBC title in impressive fashion. As good as Bam looked against Cuadras, he was even better against Rungvisai.
Rodriguez, much like the classic track by Dilated Peoples, worked the angles—sharp and precise. By Round 3, the San Antonio native was comfortable hanging in close quarters for longer spurts and was surgical with his accuracy as he snapped Rungvisai’ head back with combinations.
“I knew I couldn’t stand there but we came in and put on a show,” said Rodriguez. “I was using my angles more, Robert kept telling me to do that and I listened.”
Rungvisai went down early in the seventh round from a check left hook and by Round 8, Rodriguez was ready to pour it on and go for the stoppage.
Sensing Rungvisai had slowed down, Rodriguez turned up his offensive attack and pinned Rungvisai on the ropes. After a barrage of punches from Rodriguez and no response from the Thai fighter, referee Mark Calo oy jumped in and stopped the fight.
“My skills proved a point tonight,” said Rodriguez after his dominant victory. “My team knows what I am capable of and what I bring to the table, that’s why we took the fight.”
What’s Next for Bam Rodriguez?
After his victory over Cuadras, it seemed like Rodriguez was boxing’s best kept secret. But now, boxing’s youngest champion is quickly making a case as one of the sport’s best talents.
And although it would be an incredible feat to try and complete the sweep of four kings in his next two fights, Rodriguez seems poised to move back down to 112 pounds and give his brother, WBA titleholder Joshua Franco, the opportunity to take over at 115 pounds.
“My brother would beat my ass,” said Rodriguez who always has high praise for his brother. “Imagine what he’d do to these guys [Roman Gonzalez and Juan Francisco Estrada].”
It’ll be a tough task for anyone to beat Gonzalez or Estrada, but those are definitely the fights that fans want and deserve.
If Rodriguez does indeed go down to 112 pounds, he can look to make exciting fights against the likes of Julio Cesar Martinez and Sunny Edwards.