Bam Boxes Brilliantly; Is Tested

The Set Up

A belt on the line, the vacant WBO Flyweight title, so that adds some heft to this matchup. A durable opponent who nevertheless wouldn’t cause too much of a threat. Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez continues his inexorable rise to greatness at a very young age.

Boxing24/7 put it well;

‘After an impressive three-fight run at super flyweight that saw him become a world champion as well as one of the hottest, most exciting fighters of 2022, Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez will go back down to flyweight in his next fight.’

The Reality

Cristian Gonzalez broke Bam’s jaw. I didn’t notice when it was, it didn’t seem to bother the champ and that is testament to his quality and tenacity too. Gonzalez never gave up, never fell down, only looked a little downhearted towards the end. And yet he never seemed able to make any headway.

That will mainly because Rodriguez never let him. From the beginning, he bossed the ring, walking Gonzalez down, moving him into the corner and creating a sense of purpose.

Credit; DAZN

That sense was so important, because it was one of the ways that Rodriguez controlled the fight. The other would be his movement, his moving in and then skipping out of range, his shot selection to the body then the head, the composure he showed and smoothness he delivered.

Bam also wasn’t afraid to mix up the shots either, his jab was meaty and straight punches worked with effective uppercuts and hooks, by the 10th round of 12, he couldn’t really miss.

Credit; BBC

For his part, Gonzalez stayed in the fight. That’s what people expected him to do, but he did a little more; he was called ‘very game’ by commentators half way through the fight, but he let his hands go at times, making his opponent think with a left hook in the 7th, letting his hands go in that round with combos – Bam just came back with more shots.

As Bad Left Hook had it;

‘It wasn’t easy, as the resilient and elusive Cristian Gonzalez wouldn’t let himself get trapped long enough to finish things.’

Gonzalez seemed to hang around to see his work after landing a punch; not good, particularly when you tend to leave your chin out there. By the final rounds, Gonzalez was spent, the pressure getting to him, he flicked his jab out but only that, he seemed done.

And then he landed a short jab and Bam touched down – the ref ruled it a slip, but it looked like a landed punch to me, even if Bam was off balance – didn’t really change the outcome, but it showed Gonzalez was still there swinging.

Credit; Boxing Scene

He kept moving,” Rodiguez noted after the win. “He didn’t want to engage in the fight. I had to figure him out. That’s boxing. You just have to take any style that’s given to you and get the W.”  

What’s Next For Bam?

Well, he’s already the youngest boxing champ when he won the WBC Super Flyweight belt last year. Now, at 23, he has a belt at another weight too.

Dig the new breed, Bam is a boxer with the world at his feet. DAZN and Matchroom will surely promote and protect him, but a bigger test had surely got to be on the horizon.

There was a thought that Bam would fight Sunny Edwards next if he came through this, Sunny himself had done the necessary by calling Rodriguez out, but the broken jaw might put that fight back to 2024. Shame, but we can wait. Why? That fight – tasty as a 21 day aged steak…oh, sorry Bam…

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