Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez has received high praise ahead of his eagerly awaited shot at esteemed WBC junior bantamweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada on Saturday (June 29). 

The 24-year-old challenger aims to reclaim the title he once held after an excursion to flyweight. The fight, set for 12 rounds, will take place at the FootPrint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

Rodriguez (19-0, 12 KOs) is trained by Robert Garcia and has been a revelation in the lower weight classes, defeating the likes of Carlos Cuadras and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in consecutive fights in 2022. He followed those high class victories with arguably the most impressive performance of his career last year, a ninth round drubbing of the previously unbeaten Sunny Edwards in December.

Estrada’s 44-3 (28 KOs) record formulates a convincing case for Hall of Fame consideration. The 34-year-old is one of the best ‘little men’ of the modern era with his two victories over the great Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez perhaps his finest moments to date. Even so, ProBox TV analysts Timothy Bradley, Paulie Malignaggi, and Chris Algieri suspect the veteran will have his work cut out to triumph over a fighter 10 years his junior.

“It is going to be a difficult task for Estrada,” Bradley said. “He is going to have to knock out or maybe even catch and hurt a guy like Bam Rodriguez to get some sort of respect, or even win on the scorecards. I even see a possible stoppage late for Bam Rodriguez.”

Malignaggi added: “These lower weight classes are gaining a lot more traction than we have seen in the past. Certain generations gain more traction than others, but this generation has guys like Edwards, guys like Rodriguez, guys like Estrada, guys like Chocolatito, and so on.

“It was not the fact that he won [against Edwards]. It was that he was able to win it with flying colors. He was able to impress and basically dismantle Edwards who was coming in on a high himself. I got to put a kid like this, you got to start considering him on the pound-for-pound list, and that’s what essentially he has done.”

That victory over Edwards, who lost his IBF flyweight strap, also got Algieri’s attention. “He showed a different fold in that fight,” Algieri said. “His boxing ability really impressed me. He was out-jabbing Sunny Edwards, and Sunny is a boxer. Up until that fight, I would have said this fight is a mirror match; they are just 10 years apart. Then Bam did what he did with Sunny, and I saw a different level to his boxing IQ. I saw his ability to adapt to his opponents he has in front of him.”

“I see Bam doing that once again,” Algieri continued. “Him being younger, as young as he is, having that youthful exuberance combined with that boxing ability, and that ability to change in and out of the style. That makes him nearly impossible to beat.”