Jesse Rodriguez Believes He’s Earned Canelo-GGG Co-Feature
Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez has taken the world boxing scene by storm this year and feels like his hard work is paying off by having his next WBC junior bantamweight title defense in the coveted co-feature position on the Canelo Alvarez-Gennadiy Golovkin III card.
Rodriguez will defend the 115-pound belt for the second time when he meets Israel Gonzalez on Saturday (DAZN PPV and PPV.com, 8 p.m. ET) at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
He certainly has earned the position given his meteoric rise over the past seven months.
The 22-year-old Rodriguez (16-0, 11 KOs) became boxing’s youngest active titleholder when he won the vacant title on Feb. 5 by clear decision against former titlist Carlos Cuadras, whom he dropped in the third round, after moving up in weight and stepping in to replace the ill Srisaket Sor Rungvisai on six days’ notice.
Then Rodriguez had his first defense in a homecoming fight in San Antonio on June 25 against two-time champion Sor Rungvisai, whom he dropped in the seventh round before knocking him out in the eighth round of an extremely impressive performance.
“I’m right where I need to be,” said the Robert Garcia-trained Rodriguez. “It’s just the beginning and the sky is the limit for me. I can’t tell you how far I can go because I don’t know how to stop. I want to be one of those fighters that 20 years from now people say, ‘Remember ‘Bam’ Rodriguez? He was a bad dude.’ One of those legends.
“I feel like I’m getting the recognition that I deserve, and Saturday is the perfect platform to show everybody that I am the real deal.”
The fight will be Rodriguez’s third in seven months and he knows that being featured on a card headlined by the a much-anticipated third fight between Alvarez and Golovkin, both obvious future Hall of Famers, for Alvarez’s undisputed super middleweight championship is a big deal.
“I don’t feel pressure because I feel I was born for this,” Rodriguez said. “I belong on these big stages. It’s where I feel comfortable. Headlining in San Antonio (and then) co-main to Canelo-GGG III, this is where I want to be. It’s been part of the plan and it’s great to see it play out. There’s expectation on me, all eyes are on me. I know that I need to perform at my best but that excites me.
“Canelo is the face of boxing, so to be the curtain-raiser for that fight is amazing. So many fans are going to be able to see what I can do. I’m only 22, so to be doing the things that I am doing, beating Carlos and Rungvisai, two of the four kings at (115 pounds), I never look back and feel I need to appreciate what I do, but I do downplay what I do because I’m a humble guy.”
Gonzalez (28-4-1, 11 KOs), 25, of Mexico, is getting his fourth crack a junior bantamweight title.
In his previous three attempts he was stopped in the 10th round by Jerwin Ancajas in 2018, dropped a majority decision to Kal Yafai later in 2018 and lost a wide unanimous decision to Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez in 2020. Since then, he is 3-0-1.