S.A. boxer ‘Bam’ Rodriguez lands spot on Alvarez-Golovkin III card

2022-07-14 20:26:41 By : Ms. Felicia Yang

This is a carousel. Use Next and Previous buttons to navigate

Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez,white shorts, fighting Srisaket Sor Rungvisai as he defends his WBC World Super-Flyweight title on Saturday June 25, 2022 at the Tech Port Arena in San Antonio.

Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez,white shorts, fighting Srisaket Sor Rungvisai as he defends his WBC World Super-Flyweight title on Saturday June 25, 2022 at the Tech Port Arena in San Antonio.

With back-to-back dominating victories this year over two of the top names in the super flyweight division, San Antonio’s newest world champion, Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez, is establishing himself as perhaps the hottest young star in boxing.

That much became evident this week with the announcement that Rodriguez was added to the Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin III card Sept. 17 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Rodriguez (16-0, 11 KOs) is scheduled to defend his WBC 115-pound title against Israel Gonzalez (28-4-1, 11 KOs) of Mexico in the co-main event.

Alvarez and Golovkin will duel for a third time in the highly anticipated featured bout. Both contests will be broadcast on DAZN Pay-Per-View.

“Having the chance to fight on Mexican Independence Day weekend as the co-main to Canelo-GGG is truly special,” Rodriguez said. “Each fight now is more important than the last.”

Rodriguez is coming off a scintillating eighth-round TKO of Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in June at Tech Port Arena in San Antonio in his first title defense. In February, he became boxing’s youngest current champion at 22 when he stepped up two weight classes as a late replacement to upset veteran Carlos Cuadras in Phoenix.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. was 21 when he defeated then-champion Genaro Hernandez by TKO in 1998. It was a breakout performance that launched Mayweather on a path to greatness.

It’s too early, of course, for any such comparisons to a Hall of Famer, but Rodriguez’s breakout 2022 campaign has prompted many to place him firmly in the discussion for Fighter of the Year, as well as a candidate for boxing’s mythical top 10 pound-for-pound list.

“San Antonio has a superstar on its hands,” Eddie Hearn, Rodriguez’s promoter with Matchroom Boxing, told DAZN’s audience after last month’s victory in the Alamo City. “Fighters like this come around once in a generation.”

After the win over Sor Rungvisai, Rodriguez signed a multiyear extension to his promotional deal with Hearn and Matchroom.

“Honestly, it all feels like I’m in a movie,” Rodriguez said. “That’s what it felt like when I started and still does.”

Gonzalez, 25, has lost each of his world title opportunities. He lost by TKO to Jerwin Ancajas for the IBF super flyweight crown in 2018 in Corpus Christi and was outpointed by Khalid Yafai later that year.

He lost to Chocolatito Gonzalez by unanimous decision in 2020.

“I want to thank the champ Jesse Rodriguez for the opportunity,” Gonzalez said. “I know I’ll take full advantage of this and make my dream come true of becoming a world champion.”

A victory by Rodriguez could lead to a showdown in early 2023 with the legendary Chocolatito or WBA champion Juan Francisco Estrada.

Rodriguez’s brother Joshua Franco holds a secondary WBA belt at 115 pounds.

Rodriguez says he’s reaching for Mayweather-like greatness.

“It’s not about winning now; it’s how you win,” he said. “That’s the job now for me and my coach, Robert Garcia, to look sensational each and every time we step in the ring. I want to continue to show the world that I’m one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet.”

Whisler has been a reporter and copy editor at the Express-News since 1995. After a year on the sports copy desk, became a reporter covering the Iguanas hockey team. First started covering boxing in 1997. Has covered numerous world title fights over the years in Las Vegas, New York and Los Angeles. Other beats include the Rampage hockey team, Missions minor-league baseball and horse racing at Retama Park, as well as general assignment. Native of South Bend, Ind., graduated from Indiana University in 1977 with a degree in journalism. Moved to San Antonio in 1979.