Home Boxing News Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez stamps claim as best flyweight in the world with...

Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez stamps claim as best flyweight in the world with stoppage win over Sunny Edwards

Jesse 'Bam' Rodriguez (right) and Sunny Edwards. Photo credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing

Boxing prodigy Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez 19-0 (12) has the world at his feet after adding the IBF flyweight title to his WBO strap with a ninth-round stoppage of a game Sunny ‘Showtime’ Edwards 20-1 (4) at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona on Saturday night.

The classy 23-year-old southpaw from San Antonio, Texas busted up the left eye of England’s Edwards, 27, as early as the second round and kept increasing the pressure in every frame after that.

The first four rounds of the contest were relatively even, with Rodriguez coming forward while picking his shots and Edwards using his mobility and angles to counter. The educated pressure of Rodriguez began to tell on Edwards’ face by the middle rounds.

The sixth session produced some of the best action of the fight with Rodriguez letting his hands go and a gutsy Edwards standing his ground with the bigger puncher.

Rodriguez had the ascendancy in the seventh, eighth and ninth rounds as Edwards’ face continued to be ripped to shreds. Before the bell to start the 10th round Edwards’ corner withdrew him from the fight. Rodriguez was comfortably up on the cards at the time with scores of 87-83, 87-83 and 89-81.

“This was the biggest win of my career – and my life,” Rodriguez said. “My last two performances [victories over Israel Gonzalez and Cristian Gonzalez Hernandez] a lot of media were writing me off, saying I was a hype job, this and that. They were talking very negatively about me. So that, on top of winning a unification fight against another undefeated champion is as big as it gets, and that’s why I was so emotional after the fight.”

Rodriguez’s trainer Robert Garcia says he knew he had a special talent on his hands almost as soon as he met him as a teenager.

“When he came to my gym at 15, I knew he was going to be special,” Garcia said. “I knew he was already special. We had to buy fights in Mexico – Tijuana – because the lower weights is not easy.

“He became champion in a fight when he moved up divisions [last year to win the WBC super flyweight title by defeating Carlos Cuadras] and that was the beginning of everything. There’s no stopping us anymore.”

Edwards said his swollen left eye bothered him throughout the fight and forced him to stand and trade more often than he would normally like.

“From about the second round I couldn’t really see out of my left eye and it made it very difficult to stay out of the way of his lead hand,” Edwards said.

“I thought it was a great fight but the better man won on the night.

“I couldn’t just keep moving and moving and moving [so I had to risk trading with him]. His feet were too good for that. His lead hand was too good for that. After about the ninth, 10th round I couldn’t really see out of both eyes. My corner made the decision to pull me out, and it was probably right.

“He’s a hell of a fighter. Hell of a champion. [But] I’ll be back.”

The fight Rodriguez wants next is against WBC super flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada 44-3 (28).

“He always has something to say about my performances,” Rodriguez said at the post-fight press conference. “He claims that I’m a hype job and I’m not as good as people say. Why not get inside the ring with me and prove it to the people?”