Jesse 'Bam' Rodriguez-Sunny Edwards fight week diary: Day Three

The fighters appearing on the Matchroom promotion at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona on Saturday night all officially weighed in on Friday morning, and posed at a ceremonial weigh-in on Friday afternoon.

A tense and lengthy face-off unfolded between Junaid Bostan and Gordie Russ II – they had to be separated at the final press conference on Thursday afternoon. When ProBox TV asked Bostan if there had been another confrontation earlier on Friday, he replied that they had weighed in “with a lot of security”.

Late on Thursday the respected Barry Jones arrived in Glendale for Jesse Rodriguez-Sunny Edwards – which he revealed was, alongside Errol Spence-Terence Crawford, one of the two fights he not only most wanted to be made in 2023, but one of the two he was the most determined to attend.

There remains the risk that ceremonial weigh-ins present an advantage to the naturally bigger, stronger fighter – in this case Rodriguez – and Jones told ProBox TV: “It’s 36-plus hours of rehydrating. If he’s reduced that weight gradually in camp, even though he looks very tight at the weight, that rehydration then – if they do it sensibly, over 30-plus hours, gives him a physical advantage. But Sunny Edwards is not a fighter who uses strength to win a fight; he doesn’t need to be the bigger fighter, he needs to be the faster fighter and the cleverer fighter. If he can be that, then the weight advantage won’t have any profit. But if ‘Bam’ can get close and be physical and give that presence, of putting Sunny under pressure, then that weight tells.

“Sunny won’t care about the weight. He’s a guy who believes in himself so much – and it borders on arrogance, and that’s what you need to be at the top level. You have to have that air of arrogance. Top-class fighters never believe they can be beaten by anybody. It’s delusional in many ways but you have to believe that way, and he has it in him.”

The rules in place in Arizona mean that what’s referred to as “stacked” hand wraps can be used by both fighters.

“That tape gets very wet; the bandages for your hands aren’t for your knuckles, they’re there to protect your hands from breaking,” said Jones, the retired WBO super featherweight champion. “If you allow that, when it starts to slip, that bandage then becomes like plaster of Paris when it gets wet, so you’re going in there with a sledgehammer in your hands. [Rodriguez] is the bigger puncher. For Sonny, his brain has to be ahead of [his opponent’s] – with the stacking process, if he gets that extra bit of solidness in his shots, and that slows Sunny down, even a millisecond, then he’s not the same fighter, is he? It [potentially] gives ‘Bam’ Rodriguez a huge advantage.”

For all of the attention the IBF and WBO flyweight title fight is attracting, Matchroom proved unable to convince The Ring Magazine to put their title on the line.

“We believe this is number one and number two – that’s what The Ring Magazine belt’s there for,” Matchroom’s Frank Smith told ProBox TV. “[Julio Cesar] Martinez has been inactive, so there was the perfect opportunity for them to do it. We have been asking for a while – even when the fight was originally made, months ago.” 

Edwards and his 23-year-old opponent both tipped the scales at 111.6lbs. Rodriguez had arrived later than expected at the ceremonial weigh-in, and after they faced off for the final time, Edwards made sure that the crowd that was present at the same arena at which they will fight were aware that he was not the one who made them wait.

“We had to wait an hour and a half, whatever the time is now, so just to correct the narrative, I was here on time; ‘Bam’ was late,” the 27 year old said on stage, via the microphone, which he literally dropped the moment he finished speaking. “I wait for no man so I came back when he was here.”