Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez delivered on his potential and promise by beating Carlos Cuadras to win the vacant WBC super-flyweight title in Phoenix, Arizona.
This was the first fight in the career of Rodriguez (15-0, 10 KOs) where a belt was up for grabs. His win ensured the 22-year-old became the youngest world champion in the sport taking that crown from WBC 135lb champion Devin Haney. And to throw in more perspective Rodriguez moved up
from 108lbs to take the fight on a week’s notice replacing Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.
Rodriguez never looked out of place in this step-up. His movement and accuracy proved too much for 33-year-old Cuadras. The 45-fight veteran was always in the contest and his work-rate gave him moments of success, but Rodriguez did everything better and certainly showed the difference
between someone who has not been in the trenches as opposed to someone who has.
Cuadras often looked to bring Rodriguez into a war but that would prove to be his downfall in large portions of the fight. And in the third round the former world champion was hit by a sweet uppercut that had been set up by an angle that belonged in the Matrix of Vasyl Lomachenko.
Rodriguez never looked hurt or in danger of losing the fight and looked every inch a star in the making. With Roman Gonzalez facing Julio Cesar Martinez a changing of the guard at 115lbs began in Phoenix last night and may carry on into San Diego on March 5.
Despite the admirable efforts of Cuadras what he had to offer at this stage in his career wasn’t enough to take down Rodriguez. Youth, speed and great footwork were too hot to handle for the Mexican.
The three judges ringside unanimously agreed to award the win to Rodriguez (117-112 twice and 115-112).
“It was a tough-ass fight. Credit to Carlos Cuadras, he brought out a ‘Bam’ Rodriguez I didn’t even know I had,” the new champion told DAZN’s Chris Mannix afterwards.
“I knew Carlos was going to bring out the best in me. Carlos has the heart of a warrior.” Rodriguez had hinted at moving back down to his natural 108lbs during the build-up but now seems happy to stay at his new weight. The young champion who fought like someone that had won multiple titles already will have one eye on next month’s ‘Chocolatito’-Martinez fight at super-flyweight.
“I feel good at 115,” he said. “If I get a good opportunity to fight someone at this weight then I’m more than happy. I’m going to stay here for now. Talk to my team, see if I can get a shot at 108, I’d be more than happy to go down.
“I’ll be watching Chocolatito-Martinez for sure and maybe I’ll get the winner.” On the televised undercard Khalil Coe was allowed to throw heavy hands in a second-round win against an overmatched Dylan O’Sullivan. Raymond Ford can count himself lucky to walk away with a victory against Edward Vazquez while Fernando Diaz picked up the vacant WBC United States flyweight title with a win over Lorenzo Smith.
Britain’s Carly Skelly was no match for WBA bantamweight woman’s champion Jamie Mitchell who was too powerful for her challenger ending matters in round 4.