The fight fan in Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez almost makes him wish that he was ringside for this weekend’s show instead of serving in the headlining act.
Boxing’s youngest active titleholder, Rodriguez isn’t that bothered about having to punch for pay this weekend. The unbeaten WBC junior bantamweight titlist attempts his first defense versus former lineal champ Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (50-5-1, 43KOs) this Saturday in a DAZN-streamed main event from Tech Port Arena in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas.
The matchup itself has drawn rave reviews throughout the industry, more so considering the event’s supporting cast. Rodriguez’s first true homecoming sits atop a rare (for this era) four-title fight show.
“I was a little pissed that I have to miss all these great fights on this show,” Rodriguez joked to BoxingSce.com. “But really, I don’t mind. It’s amazing to be the main event on a great show like this and in my city.”
Rodriguez’s bout is a treat in and of itself. The 22-year-old San Antonio native won the WBC 115-pound title in a 12-round win over former champ Carlos Cuadras this past February 5 in Phoenix. The feat came as he accepted the fight on six-days’ notice, replacing an ill Sor Rungvisai and moving up in weight from a scheduled flyweight bout on the undercard.
With the win, came the decision to stick around at the weight. Thailand’s Sor Rungvisai makes a bid to become a three-time WBC titlist on a night that will have plenty of major titles at stake.
The evening’s chief support features a potential future opponent for Rodriguez (15-0, 10KOs), as Mexico City’s Julio Cesar Martinez (18-2, 14KOs; 1NC) defends his WBC flyweight titiist versus interim titleholder McWilliams Arroyo (21-4, 16KOs; 1NC) of Fajardo, Puerto Rico.
Chicago-based two-division titlist and reigning undisputed welterweight queen Jessica McCaskill (11-2, 4KOs) attempts her second title defense versus Monterey’s Alma Ibarra (10-1, 5KOs) in a televised undercard bout. Opening the four-title fight DAZN stream, unified WBA/IBF junior featherweight titlist Murodjon Akhmadaliev (10-0, 8KOs) enters his third title defense, with the unbeaten Uzbek facing California’s Ronny Rios (33-3, 16KOs).
“These are all fights I’d be watching at home or in the arena if I wasn’t fighting,” admits Rodriguez. “MJ versus Rios, you have Martinez and Arroyo, you have Jessica McCaskill. I wish I could sit back and enjoy these fights.
“But it’s all good. I got work to do that night as well.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox