Jesse Rodriguez's 'life changed' by victory over Sunny Edwards

Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez hailed a “life-changing” victory after he produced a career-best performance to stop Sunny Edwards in nine rounds.

The 23-year-old unified the WBO and IBF titles at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona by stopping his leading divisional rival after dropping him in the ninth round of a fight so one-sided he demonstrated that he is the very finest flyweight in the world.

After agreeing to fight Edwards, the previously undefeated IBF champion, Rodriguez learned that in the coming months his partner Rebecca will give birth to a baby girl.

In under two years he has transformed his career – first by defeating Carlos Cuadras to win the WBC super flyweight title and most recently by stopping Edwards, previously perceived his biggest threat – and on Saturday he enhanced his reputation to such an extent that he earned parity with some of the finest fighters in the world.

“I knew this fight would not only change my life but change my daughter’s life,” Rodriguez said. “For bigger opportunities, and just be able to buy her better things. I had a lot of motivation going into this fight knowing I have a daughter on the way. I’m just so happy right now – I can’t wait for her to finally be here and finally meet her, and tell her about this night. She’s due in April.

“This was the biggest win of my career – and my life. My last two performances [victories over Israel Gonzalez and Cristian Gonzalez Hernandez] a lot of media were writing me off, saying I was a hype job, this and that. They were talking very negatively about me. So that, on top of winning a unification fight against another undefeated champion, is as big as it gets, and that’s why I was so emotional after the fight.”

“When he came to my gym at 15, I knew he was going to be special,” said his trainer Robert Garcia. “I knew he was already special. We had to buy fights in Mexico – Tijuana – because the lower weights is not easy. He became champion in a fight when he moved up divisions [last year by defeating Cuadras], and that was the beginning of everything. There’s no stopping us anymore.”

Their promoter Eddie Hearn also said that he expected Edwards to go to the hospital for a X-ray on the damage to his left cheek, but speaking immediately post-fight, the 27 year old said: “From about the second round I couldn’t really see out of my left eye, and it made it very difficult to stay out of the way of his lead hand.

“I thought it was a great fight but the better man won on the night. 

“I couldn’t just keep moving and moving and moving [so I had to risk trading with him]. His feet were too good for that. His lead hand was too good for that. After about the ninth, 10th round I couldn’t really see out of both eyes. My corner made the decision to pull me out, and it was probably right.

“He’s a hell of a fighter. Hell of a champion. [But] I’ll be back.”