Expectant father Jesse 'Bam' Rodriguez relishing new responsibilities before meeting with Sunny Edwards

Robert Garcia believes that Jesse Rodriguez’s focus for Saturday’s fight with Sunny Edwards has been intensified by his learning that he has a baby daughter on the way.

It was shortly after the toughest fight of his career – for the IBF and WBO flyweight titles at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona – was signed and sealed that Rodriguez’s partner Rebecca discovered that she was pregnant, and while Garcia has witnessed fighters suffer in similar circumstances he is confident that Rodriguez has instead thrived.

“When somebody’s expecting their first baby, it does change the way they think,” he said. “His mentality has changed; he’s a little bit more focused and serious about life itself; it makes a big change on any human being. 

“There’s situations where a fighter thinks a little more about risking his health and life in the ring; where fighters hold back a little when they start having a family. It’s something that could work both ways. We won’t see until fight night, but from what it looks like now in training camp and showing us the hunger that he has during sparring, it looks like it’s motivated him in a positive way, where he’ll try even harder. 

“He’s been in camp for almost three months. Some fighters – maybe they’d come to camp a little bit later, or train at home for a few weeks, having a girlfriend that’s pregnant and wanting to be with her. But no, he’s decided to get here [Oxnard, California] for September, and has been focused. That says a lot.”

The 23-year-old Rodriguez – the WBO champion – has already spent time around the divisive Edwards, 27, during a press tour to promote Saturday’s fight.

“I let [Rodriguez’s] father go [on the press tour] instead of me because the dad wanted to spend time with his son – I had a lot of work anyways – he was a little surprised because he tells me what we’ve seen on social media [from Edwards and] it was totally the opposite. [Edwards] was very friendly; they played a few games together. 

“It was very respectful. That tells you he’s a good person, and says what he says to sell a fight. Smaller weights need a fight like this.”