The last time Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez fought in his hometown, he scored an impressive stoppage victory over Srisaket Sor Rungvisai to defend the WBC super flyweight title. Fast forward ten months later, he hopes to have another high-level performance to win another title.
This Saturday at the Boeing Center, Rodriguez (17-0, 11 KOs) faces Cristian Gonzalez (15-1, 5 KOs) for the vacant WBO flyweight title to headline a card that will be televised live on DAZN. The 23 year old will be fighting in his hometown for the fourth time in his pro career, and he wants to duplicate or surpass what he did in the same venue against Sor Rungvisai. He recalled that bout and how being able to defend a world title the way that he did meant a lot to him.
“The Rungvisai night was amazing,” he said. “There was a lot of talk that I was going to get knocked out, that Rungvisai was too much for me, so when I stopped him, it was a moment I will never forget. The emotions were so high, that’s why I just fell to the floor, it was an amazing feeling.”
Being able to headline another card in San Antonio has Rodriguez very excited, and he carries a lot of pride for his city when he fights.
“San Antonio means everything to me, it’s where I was born and raised, my family and my people are there and whenever I step in the ring, they are with me. I represent San Antonio when I step in the ring, and I am doing this for my city.”
He goes up against Gonzalez who has won nine consecutive fights, including the last two by knockout. Gonzalez built his way up to being the 2nd ranked contender for the WBO title, and this is his first world title bout. Rodriguez is aware of that, and has been preparing for this bout by having various sparring partners in his camp.
“(Gonzalez) is tall, he’s lengthy and he likes to move a lot. So, we’ve been working on how I will close the distance and cut off the ring,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve been sparring taller guys so on April 8th, there’s not going to be a problem for me to go in there and show what we’ve been working on.”
Rodriguez-Gonzalez is the feature bout in San Antonio, as there will be seven other fights on the card including unified super bantamweight champion MJ Akhmadaliev versus Marlon Tapales, Raymond Ford against Jesse Magdaleno, Thomas Mattice faces Ramiro Cesena, Israil Madrimov versus Raphael Igbokwe, Marc Castro takes on Ricardo Lopez, Khalil Coe will be in a rematch against Aaron Casper, and Jesus Martinez opens the card against Jose Lopez.
Cover photo by Meliza Pizano of Matchroom