We are just over a week away from the IBF/WBO flyweight unification fight between Sunny Edwards and Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez and opinions are still split over who will emerge triumphant in the ultimate clash of styles.
For every fight fan who believes Edwards will be too smart, too slick and too elusive for Rodriguez, you will find another who wonders whether his supposed lack of power will make it all but impossible for him to keep the Texan at bay for twelve rounds.
Unsurprisingly, the IBF champion has absolutely no doubts. He believes he will earn his respect and won’t need to hurt Rodriguez to do it.
Ordinarily, even the briefest look over Rodriguez’s career would tell you that letting a pressure fighter of his caliber move forward without consequence seems to be a recipe for disaster.
There are few fighters in the sport as adept at cutting down the ring as Rodriguez and the 23-year-old WBO champion is a menace once inside, using angles to land shots from unexpected and unorthodox angles.
Edwards isn’t an ordinary fighter, however, and we have yet to see Rodriguez hunt down anybody with Edwards’ footwork and ability to make quality fighters miss, not to mention the self confidence to stick rigidly to a plan without taking risks.
The unbeaten 27-year-old is a clever fighter and will be well aware of the dangers involved in trying to change the ideology and methods that have worked so well for so long.
Instead, Edwards insists will pour all of his concentration and energy into doing what he does best.
“Because for every millisecond that I hold my feet and stand in front of another athlete who has dedicated his whole, entire life to get to the same position that I am and to challenge me for the belts, that extra second, that extra bit of energy and that extra bit of power to throw one shot….” Edwards said during his Matchroom Face Off with Rodriguez.
“It could get me knocked out. It could get me tired. It could make me lose. When I box, I box in a certain rhythm and a certain flow state. I’m not even trying to hurt somebody. I’ll be real, when I box there’s not one part of me and my mind that’s trying to knock somebody out. I’m there for 36 minutes.”
“I don’t need to hurt no-one. If you hit someone 15 times and they hit you once per round - clear as day - when did I need to hurt him?”