The sweet science returned with a fury this past weekend in what was no doubt the best week of boxing so far in 2022. In a weekend that saw the return of the GWOAT and the return of a former unified welter champ for a two-plus year layoff. When someone dares to be great and jumps up not one but two weight classes, takes on a ring legend and possible hall of Famer on less than a week’s notice, and dominates that fighter. The fighter wins the fighter of the week award and that’s exactly what Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez of San Antonio, Texas, did Saturday night at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Bam picked up the unanimous decision victory moved his record to 15- 0(10) becomes the youngest champion in boxing and the firstborn in the 2000s made a statement to the boxing world that Bam Rodriguez has arrived and takes home our Fighter of the Week award.
There was absolutely no hesitation in taking the fight, Rodriguez has said he was long overdue for a title shot last year was given the opportunity to fight for a world title and he was not about to pass it up. There was no concern about the size discrepancy. Bam had sparred with larger fighters his whole life and he knew what he could do and Rodriguez did just that. Seizing control of an even fight in the third round, scoring a sensational knockdown with a perfect placed uppercut, he was able to land courtesy of incredible footwork. The Texan was able to stay in control of the fight showing off the incredible speed and combination punching that made him our 2020 Prospect of the Year. He mixed up head and body shots perfectly and got out of the way from Cuadras’s heavy artillery. He closed the show like a true veteran scoring with a perfectly placed four-piece combination in the final round and then flurried again right before the bell sounded to end the fight. Going to the cards it was academic Rodriguez took the clear unanimous decision victory by scores of 117-110 x2 and a way too close 115-112.
Rodriguez is just 22-years-old and the youngest champion in the world and the world is now his oyster. He is naturally a 108-pounder who can campaign at 112 and 115 pounds. 115 is where the best and biggest fights are at and promoter Eddie Hearn was asked who he would want Bam to fight if he could snap his fingers and make any fight. He said Estrada in San Antonio. While the Estrada fight may be going to his big brother Joshua Franco. He has many attractive options, he suggested that he may stay at 115 and may have to fight Srisaket Sor Rungvisai to keep the WBC strap. There is also the very real possibility that he goes back down to his more natural weight classes. Junto Nakatani and Sunny Edwards would be intriguing fights at the flyweight division and at 108 they are intriguing fights that can be made with Felix Alvardo, who holds the IBF strap as well as the winner of the Kenshiro vs Masamichi Yabuki rematch for the WBC strap which is scheduled for March 19th. The San Antonian at age 22 is now a draw, has a litany of options, and can pick the fight that world best him.