Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez enjoyed a breakout 2022 campaign by taking two notable players from the past and current era of elite junior bantamweights.

The two-division titlist is prepared to continue that mission, though at least one fighter will be spared his wrath.

San Antonio’s Rodriguez (19-0, 12KOs) made it clear before and after his stoppage win over Sunny Edwards after nine rounds to unify the IBF and WBO flyweight titles that it would be his last at the weight. His impending return to the 115-pound division has one specific target in mind—lineal and WBC champion Juan Francisco Estrada.

The one fighter he won’t touch, however, is legendary four-division champion and longtime friend Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez (51-4, 41KOs).

“People always ask that. There is a lot of respect between me and Chocolatito,” Rodriguez explained during the post-fight press conference Saturday at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona. “Mr. Honda (head of Teiken Promotions, who promotes both fighters), I don’t think he would like that too much.

“Every time people ask me that, I just say I don’t think it’s a possibility. It is a great fight, the respect is there between us. Estrada is a great champion too and I believe that’s an even bigger fight.”

Rodriguez won the WBC junior bantamweight title with a twelve-round, unanimous decision over former titlist Carlos Cuadras last February 4 in Phoenix. He took the fight on six days’ notice in place of an ill Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, the former lineal champion who Rodriguez stopped in the eighth round of a San Antonio homecoming last June 24.

One more title defense followed before Rodriguez vacated to campaign at flyweight, where he won the WBO and IBF titles in back-to-back fights. Prior to his WBO flyweight title win earlier this year over Cristian Gonzalez, Rodriguez was ringside at this very venue last December when his old WBC 115-pound title was at stake in Estrada’s win over Gonzalez in their rubber match.

Mexico’s Estrada (44-3, 28KOs) had a similar view Saturday evening for Rodriguez’ stoppage of England’s Edwards (20-1, 4KOs) and allegedly let it be known that he wasn’t blown away by what he witnessed in the ring.

“He always has something to say about my performances,” noted Rodriguez when made aware of Estrada’s comments. “He claims that I’m a hype job and I’m not as good as people say. Why not get inside the ring with me and prove it to the people.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for X (formerly Twitter): @JakeNDaBox