Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez says he belongs in the top five of the pound-for-pound list after his stoppage of Mexican legend Juan Francisco Estrada in Phoenix on Saturday night.

With the victory, Rodriguez – 20-0 (13 KOs) – reclaimed the WBC super-flyweight title and collected his first Ring Magazine strap.

“I’m the legend slayer,” said Rodriguez. “The better the opponent, the better I perform, I’ve always felt that way. It was just a matter of time until the world saw it. 

 “I’ve been saying that I’m here at 115lbs for two or three fights, I know that there is a rematch clause with Estrada so if he wants to go through with that then we can run it back, if not, I want the winner of Kazuto Ioka and Fernando Martinez. It’s a great fight, I think Ioka might be a little too technical for Martinez so he’ll come out with the victory.

“I would love to fight in Japan. I’ve been out there a few times, I’ve been to the boxing out there and it’s a different atmosphere so I would love to go there and fight whoever.

“Estrada is a legend and a warrior and he’s going to want to come back and try to beat me, but I am only getting better from here on out.”

Rodriguez started the fight aggressively and in the third round, stumbled Estrada with a crisp uppercut, pouring it onto the defending champion, and the following round there was another major breakthrough for the Texan, as another uppercut opened the door for a left-hand that floored “El Gallo”.

But as “Bam” looked to move through the gears and end matters before the halfway point of the fight, Estrada had the packed house on their feet as he put the 24-year-old on the deck for the first time in his career from a right hand.

Rodriguez composed himself and finished the round strong, and then came the crowning moment as the seventh round closed. Rodriguez unleashed a sickening body shot with his left hand, one that crumpled Estrada.

Rodriguez was in charge of the fight, although one judge had Estrada winning at the time of the stoppage.

“The scorecards are pretty crazy to me, I thought that I was dominating the fight, even in the round I got dropped in I came back and finished the round pretty strong, so the cards were shocking to me but that’s boxing, that’s the way it goes and it was a good job I got him out of there," he said.

“When I got dropped, I got too careless. [Trainer] Robert [Garcia] was telling me even the round before to stay calm and keep doing what I was doing, but I got too comfortable to be honest, and I got caught with a great shot. It was a flash knockdown, I knew that when I was going down, I was smiling and just got back up and stuck to the game plan, it’s just a learning experience.  

“The ‘Chocolatito’ [Roman Gonzalez] sparring was perfect for this camp, he’s been inside the ring three times with Estrada and knows Estrada better than anyone else. I’m very thankful for those rounds and I want to give a shout-out to ‘Chocolatito’ for those three sparring sessions that we had.

“It’s my best win so far. As I said, he’s a legend, was on the pound-for-pound rankings for a very long time so to go out there and dominate him the way that I did – it says a lot about my performance and my talents.

“I didn’t really care about the pound-for-pound list at first, but when I was put on it, it happened after I beat Sunny Edwards and it felt better than winning the fight. So staying on the pound-for-pound list along with the other great fighters is an honor. Before the fight moving up that list was talked about, especially if I stopped him, and I’m definitely in the top five pound-for-pound.

“I’ve fought in Arizona three times now, this is the biggest one. Phoenix holds a special place in my heart, I love fighting here and the atmosphere was crazy. 

“It’s badass to be mentioned with Naoya Inoue. I’m a 115lbs fighter and he’s at 122lbs, so that just goes to show how talented I am.”

His promoter, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom, was delighted with Rodriguez’s performance.

“It was an incredible fight,” said Hearn. “I felt ‘Bam’ dominated the first part of the fight but then Estrada came back with the knockdown and looked to turn the fight on its head. Jesse recovered but Estrada was back in the fight, but all of a sudden, the body shot was absolutely perfectly placed and he couldn’t breathe, couldn’t get up, and it was a stunning end to a stunning fight.

“Estrada has been out for a while so sometimes you think it might take a while for him to get into the fight, and he’s a very good finisher is 'El Gallo', especially down the back straight. But I was surprised that [Rodriguez] hurt him so early. But Jesse looked very heavy-handed and at 24, he’s really building his strength. 

“The problem with the lower weight classes is they often don’t get the respect of the higher ones. For me, Jesse should be mentioned with Terence Crawford; Inoue; [Oleksandr] Usyk.

“He’s gone through [Carlos] Cuadras, gone through [Srisaket Sor] Rungvisai; stopped Edwards; KO’d Estrada. He’s already on the pound-for-pound list, but I think he is top five pound-for-pound now. He’s 24-years-old, he has another four or five years of his prime, and we’re honored to represent him. 

“You saw the crowd in there – we’re in Phoenix, not in San Antonio, and as many Mexicans as there were in there, Bam had huge support and he’s a real star. The rematch is there; there’s opportunities in Japan; there’s opportunities to go back to San Antonio and also to come back to Phoenix.

"The future is bright, he wants to try unify the division. ‘El Gallo’ has the option to rematch and we’ll see how that plays out.”