Robert Garcia: Jesse 'Bam' Rodriguez is as good as Nonito Donaire

Robert Garcia considers Jesse Rodriguez as talented as the great Nonito Donaire.

On Saturday at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona, Rodriguez confronts Sunny Edwards in a WBO and IBF flyweight title fight and what represents his greatest test.

The respected Garcia recognises the threat Edwards, 27, poses but asked about the calibre of fighter he has prepared for a fight that could yet define both of their careers he said: “Talent-wise he’s up there among the best [I’ve trained]. 

“I never include my brother Mikey because he’s my brother and I don’t like to put him at number one – of course you’ll pick your brother – but Mikey’s so smart, very technical, and knew when to connect. Skills-wise it’s between “Bam” and Nonito Donaire [as number one]. Nonito Donaire was great – he had some great talent.”

If Donaire is among the finest fighters of the modern era, a convincing victory for the 23-year-old Rodriguez would ensure he is regarded as one of the finest in the world in 2023, and not least because Garcia is among those who considers the IBF champion Edwards “great”.

“Great fighter,” he said. “Very talented; very difficult; fast. It’s a real challenge for us. It’s going to be a great fight. 

“What we’re seeing on social media and what he says in interviews – he’s good for boxing. He’s already a champion who’s defended his title a few times. He backs up what he says, which is good. I’m happy we’re facing him; he’s the one who says more about the way he feels; the way boxing is.

“He’s gonna listen and he’s gonna fight smart and he’s gonna box [and avoid the ropes]. He’s gonna try and use his feet to move around; we’re gonna have our moments too, but he’s going to have his moments. It’s going to be a fight where, round by round, we’re going to figure out little things and he’s going to do the same with his corner. 

“That’s what makes this such an interesting fight. It’s maybe the best fight of the lower weight classes of the year. They deserve a lot of credit for accepting the fight; Sunny for even coming to the country and proving himself. That’s what a real warrior – a real fighter – does.

“Guys like Chocolatito [Roman Gonzalez]; [Carlos] Cuadras; [McWilliams] Arroyo; [Srisaket Sor] Rungvisai made a change. They forced these kids to do the same thing. It’s something they started – they fight each other – and the younger generation needs to continue that so the boxing world keeps those weight classes in mind.”