In a sensational performance, WBC super flyweight champion Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez (16-0, 11 KOs) used his speed, youth, and combination punching to stop former two-time WBC 115-lb champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (50-6-1, 43 KOs) in the eighth round in a one-sided fight on Saturday night at the Tech Port Arena in San Antonio, Texas.
‘Bam’ Rodriguez outboxed Rungvisai through the first six rounds and then was given credit for a knockout in the seventh after the Thai fighter slipped on the canvas after being hit with a right hand to the head.
Like a shark that smelled blood, the 22-year-old Bam Rodriguez came storming out in the eighth round, quickly backing Rungvisai up against the ropes, and then unloading with a storm of shots that resulted in the referee halting the fight.
Rungvisai was still on his feet, but he had taken too many shots for the referee to allow it to continue. The time of the stoppage was at 1:50 of the eighth.
Bam Rodriguez did a good job of tying up Rungvisai whenever he got close to him. It was effective, but it made the fight kind of dull to watch.
“In just your second fight at 115 pounds, you did what Chocolatito couldn’t do and what Juan Francisco Estrada couldn’t do. You knocked out Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. What did you think of your performance?” said Chris Mannix of DAZN to Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez.
“What can I say? My skills proved a point tonight. I told everybody I was trying to be a special fighter and I proved that tonight,” said Bam Rodriguez.
“You told everybody coming in that was talking about Srisaket Sor Rungvisai’s power that you had the power to hurt him. What gave you the confidence for you to do what you did? said Mannix.
“My whole team. They know what I’m capable of and that’s why we took this fight in the first place,” said Bam Rodriguez. “We knew what I brought to the table, and tonight showed that.”
“You went into these early rounds and you knew you were facing a good puncher. When did you know you could hang with his power?” said Mannix.
“After the third round, I felt his power wasn’t the same. I felt I’d broken him down a bit,” said Bam Rodriguez about Rungvisai. “After the third round, I didn’t feel his power was the same. He was still strong, but not like the first two rounds.”
“You seem like a lot more disciplined fighter,” said Mannix. “In your last fight, we could hear in the broadcast, your trainer Robert Garcia saying, ‘Don’t stand there.’ You didn’t stand and trade at all in this fight.”
“Nah, before that fight I said in my interviews that I could stand in there with Cuadras. For this fight, I came in and put on a show,” said Rodriguez.
“Take me through the sixth round when you got the knockdown. You had been wearing him down through the first five rounds of that fight. What happened when you put him down?” said Mannix.
“I started using my angles more. I went back to my corner after every round, and Robert [Garcia] kept reminding me to use my angles and that’s what I did,” said Bam Rodriguez.
“How valuable was the experience of having fought Cuadras? for this fight?” said Mannix.
“The Cuadras fight not only put my name out there, but that’s why I’m standing here in the main event in San Antonio,” said Rodriguez. “Without that fight, I wouldn’t be here. I’m very thankful to Matchroom.”
“Your trainer Robert Garcia told me that after this fight, ‘We’re going to go back down to 112 pounds.’ How do you feel about that right now?” said Mannix.
“I’m down to do whatever Robert says. Any champion at 112, I’m down, I’m here. Bam Rodriguez is here to stay. I’m a special fighter, not an average fighter,” said Rodriguez.
“You grew up watching these special super flyweights, watching Carlos Cuadras, watching Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. What does it mean for you to not only share the ring with them, but also to beat them?” said Mannix.
“It means everything. Like you said, I grew up watching those guys. To be in the ring with them is just a privilege itself, but to beat them the way I’ve been beating them, it means everything to my team and we couldn’t be more than happy,” said Bam Rodriguez.
“Is it in your mind to face the other two guys [Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez and Juan Francisco Estrada] at 115?” said Mannix.
“That’s for my brother Joshua Franco. For those who don’t know, he’s very underrated and he’s waiting for his shot,” said Rodriguez. “Once he gets it, he’s going to show who he is.”
“Is this the time for the Rodriguezs and the Francos at 115?” said Mannix.
“We’re here to stay. Anyone at 112 and 115 can come and get it,” said Bam Rodriguez.
“We’re going to turn to your promoter Eddie Hearn,” said Mannix. “Eddie, you said this kid was a special talent and can be a superstar. What did you see tonight?”
“I think he can unify at any division from 108lbs to 115lbs and he’s got all the tools to become a legend of the sport,” said Hearn.
The 22-year-old Rodriguez isn’t a huge puncher nor does he possess blinding speed, so he focuses on his technical game to win fights.
Some boxing fans compare Bam Rodriguez to Vasyl Lomachenko, but that’s going overboard. He’s not that skilled, but he does have excellent skills for a 22-year-old, who didn’t come from an Olympic background.
Although Bam Rodriguez looked good, he was fighting a 35-year-old Rungvisai, and he wasn’t the same fighter he’d been six years ago when he defeated Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez.
Rungvisai’s speed and power weren’t anywhere near the level it had been when he beat Chocolatito and Juan Francisco Estrada many years ago.
It would be interesting to see Bam Rodriguez share the ring with Chocolatito and Estrada. From what I saw tonight, Bam isn’t in the same leave as both of those two fighters, even now with them in their mid-30s.
Chocolatito has far too many skills for Bam to beat him, and Estrada is also on another level and he punches harder.
Of the two, Bam would have a better shot at beating Estrada if he made it ugly by moving, clinching, and being negative to keep the talented Mexican star from getting his shots off.
The stuff that Bam Rodriguez was doing tonight to negate Rungvisai’s offensive output wouldn’t work against Estrada or Chocolatito because they would punch on the inside, and not let him tie up repeatedly without paying for it.
Murodjon Akhmadaliev stops Ronny Rios
In the co-feature bout, unbeaten IBF & WBA super bantamweight champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev (11-0, 8 KOs) defeated the game Ronny Rios (33-4, 16 KOs) by a 12th-round knockout.
Fighting with an injured left hand from the second round, the 2016 Olympian Akhmadaliev suddenly opened up with a blizzard of punches in the 12th round that put Rios on the canvas. The shots that put Rios down were hard punches to the body.
After got back up, Akhmadaliev tagged him at will with shots that led to the referee halting the fight. The time of the stoppage was at 2:06 of the round