Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez admits he didn’t even know at what weight his next fight would take place, never mind the city.
A decision to stay put provides the best of both worlds for the gifted 22-year old, who gets a homecoming headliner for the first defense of his WBC junior bantamweight title. Rodriguez will face former two-time champ Srisaket Sor Rungvisai atop a four-title fight DAZN show this Saturday from Tech Port Arena in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas.
It’s not a bad scenario at all for a fighter who was eyeing a junior flyweight title run less than a year ago.
“After my last fight, I didn’t even plan on staying at 115,” Rodriguez admitted to BoxingScene.com. “Then I got to thinking. We talked among my team, made a decision as a team to defend my title at least one time.
“Now here we are, fighting a main event at home in San Antonio.”
The fight is the first since his fifth pro fight for Rodriguez (15-0, 10KOs) in his home city. It’s also the first anywhere in Texas since an undercard appearance on a February 2020 show featuring training stablemate Mikey Garcia in a win over Jessie Vargas in Frisco, Texas.
It comes less than five months after his WBC-title winning effort over former champ Carlos Cuadras, scoring a twelve-round, unanimous decision in their February 5 DAZN headliner in Phoenix. Rodriguez accepted the fight on less than one week’s notice, replacing an ill Sor Rungvisai (50-5-1, 43KOs) on a show where the unbeaten boxer was previously due to appear in a regional flyweight title fight.
The chance to fight for his first major title was too tempting to pass up, even if thought of as one-and-done at the time. The plan was to win the fight at 115 and eventually work his way back down to flyweight and perhaps even junior flyweight, where he was due to fight for a secondary title just two fights ago.
The allure of facing elite level competition—and the lucrative paydays that accompany such fights—and the chance to be the star of the show at home was enough to convince himself to stay put.
“It’s my first title defense. Bringing it to San Antonio means a lot to me,” noted Rodriguez. “It’s gonna be an amazing night.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox