Rodriguez grateful for day with Edwards in the sun

Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez is relishing what he considers a golden era for the flyweights.

On Saturday at the Diamond Desert Arena in Glendale, Arizona, he fights Sunny Edwards for the titles of the IBF and the WBO.

The 23 year old’s career has been transformed since his victory last year over the widely admired Carlos Cuadras, a fighter whose reputation was enhanced over the course of fights with Roman Gonzalez, Juan Francisco Estrada and more.

Edwards, 27 and the IBF champion, is widely considered his toughest opponent so far, but as a fighter in a weight division that traditionally attracts neither significant money nor attention, Rodriguez said: “This is what the lower weight divisions need and I’m glad to be a part of it. This is the best fight in the lower weight divisions in general. There’s a lot more eyes on this fight because of the characters we are – Sonny talking trash – so people pay attention to that; pay attention to the fight. This is a great fight.

“I didn’t know about him until he mentioned my name, after his fight with [last year, Felix] Alvarado. That’s when I started realising who he was – that’s when I started paying attention. [He impressed me] right off the bat – he’s a great fighter.

“Flyweights don’t get paid as much, so it’s harder, being a flyweight. I was trying to get a fight for a while – I got my shot at [last year, Carlos] Cuadras and ever since then my life has changed and I got bigger fights like this. I just got blessed with the opportunity to fight Cuadras and ever since then, life has been different. Being recognised in San Antonio; being recognised on the boxing scene. A lot more people talk about me and my fights – that fight with Cuadras really changed it.”

It was the WBC super flyweight title Rodriguez won from Cuadras. Against Edwards he makes the second defence of his WBO flyweight title. 

“He’s a great fighter,” Rodriguez continued. “He’s undefeated for a reason; he’s a champion for a reason, so December 16 is going to be an exciting fight. But Sunny hasn’t seen a fighter like me – pressure; footwork – so it’s going to be something new to him. He’s going to have his hands full.

“He’s good at countering; moving; trying to get in his opponent’s head. But he hasn’t seen somebody like me. He likes to stay on the ropes; stay in the pocket a little too long. But for this fight he’s gonna approach it a little bit different. He won’t do that with me, because he knows that’s where he don’t wanna be. But me and Robert [Garcia, my trainer] have been working on things to capitalise on that.

“He’s gonna try to move – try and avoid the ropes. I’m sure that’s going to be his game plan – not to stay in the pocket or be on the ropes – but with pressure like mine he won’t be able to move for 12 rounds, like he does with his past opponents. I’m a different fighter. I have the footwork, and the pressure – that’s something he hasn’t seen before. We’re ready, man, and we’re excited.”