Jesse Rodriguez stays unbeaten and a piece in progress, writes Elliot Worsell from Las Vegas
IT will take rather more than a super-flyweight champion defending a WBC belt to make me imagine in reincarnation, but the sight of Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez going by means of his huge arsenal of punches in opposition to Israel Gonzalez is unquestionably proof of a 22-year-old who has been right here earlier than.
With a maturity, composure and punch repertoire belying his years, Rodriguez already strikes and throws like a seasoned professional and appears completely unflappable, his confidence that of a fighter who is aware of precisely what’s coming: each when it comes to his opponent’s subsequent motion, and the end result of the battle.
Tonight (September 17) on the T-Cellular Area in Las Vegas, Rodriguez once more demonstrated this eerie calm and cruelty to the tune of a 12-round unanimous resolution victory, one that may have doubtless disenchanted some, but had others, like me, no much less enthused about his future.
He’ll, it’s true, have flashier victories, and certainly has had flashier victories already this yr, however this was nonetheless an vital lesson for Rodriguez; an opportunity for him to once more present the world all he’s able to, whereas additionally taking away one thing from the expertise himself.
Keener to thrill than to study, spherical after spherical he revealed an increasing number of of himself because the battle progressed and selected to take dangers as and when he believed they have been vital. This meant he was tight and compact early, measuring Gonzalez and setting traps on the entrance foot, earlier than later exploring all of the roads he had cleared for himself as the center rounds opened up.
On the entrance foot, at all times, he had Gonzalez in survival mode from the outset and took him aside systematically, beginning first with the jabs, then left crosses from the southpaw stance, then lastly physique pictures (a couple of of which, admittedly, have been borderline). It was, for probably the most half, one-way site visitors and Gonzalez, the taller man, had no approach of maintaining Rodriguez off, nor stopping him doing no matter he needed to do. His proper hand, thrown straight on the retreat, was one of the best Gonzalez may provide, however Rodriguez, calm beneath fireplace, didn’t thoughts taking the odd one or two to plot his personal subsequent transfer.
Certainly, just like the best of boxing’s little males – assume somebody like Ricardo “El Finito” Lopez – there’s a sense with Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez that he is aware of how a battle will finish lengthy earlier than it truly ends. Every little thing he does, whether or not that’s punching or just transferring, is designed to make his opponent react and finally slip up. It’s an overused adage, certain, however with Jesse Rodriguez it’s additionally true: every thing is for a purpose.
At this level, although nonetheless very a lot within the formative interval of his skilled profession, he’s a fighter whose fashion appears oddly refined. It’s one to not solely be admired however one that ought to in all probability be taught in boxing gyms.
Or perhaps that’s untimely, thus doing him no favours.
Regardless, his fashion was an excessive amount of tonight for Gonzalez, somebody who beforehand went 12 rounds with Roman Gonzalez and Khalid Yafai, and it’ll in all probability be an excessive amount of for many others in and round his weight, too.
If on the lookout for indicators – indicators of misery, that’s – they have been obvious in opposition to Gonzalez in spherical eight, when Rodriguez landed low with a proper uppercut and the Mexican, having already complained about low blows, dropped to the canvas on influence. The transgression would value Rodriguez a degree, though the suspicion as soon as it landed was that Gonzalez was operating out of concepts and maybe rising annoyed.
That’s to not say he was with out success, thoughts. In actual fact, usually Gonzalez would travel with Rodriguez, giving pretty much as good as he acquired, and would stay energetic even when nailed cleanly by left fingers, as was the case within the ninth.
All in all, the person from Cabo San Lucas gave a superb account of himself, simply as he did beforehand in opposition to Gonzalez and Yafai. He was step by step being softened up by Rodriguez, with out query, however appeared near wilting solely within the tenth, a spherical by which Rodriguez staggered him with an uppercut and numbed him time and time once more with proper jabs.
It was in that around the referee Kenny Bayless took a more in-depth have a look at Gonzalez, maybe seeing what all at ringside may see. But the gutsy Mexican, regardless of this concern, ventured boldly into the eleventh, exhibiting ambition within the face of the inevitability of defeat.
By then, so nice was Rodriguez’s want to each end the battle and make the assertion others had promised on his behalf, a couple of extra of his punches began to stray low, with one specifically inflicting Gonzalez, 28-5-1 (11), to drop to the canvas for a second time (once more, no knockdown). There was on this event no level deduction, even when Gonzalez, aggressive however nicely behind on the playing cards, was presumably each hoping for and will have accomplished with one.
Ultimately, scores of 118-109, 117-110 and a too-close 114-113 secured Rodriguez the victory, his seventeenth as a professional. “He was very awkward and really robust and he hit me with physique pictures I felt,” admitted Jesse, 17-0 (11), within the aftermath. “I didn’t get the efficiency I needed, nevertheless it’s simply a part of the game.”
Whereas, by his personal admission, not the efficiency he needed, and perhaps not a efficiency he’ll eagerly add to his Fighter-of-the-12 months showreel (which features a resolution over Carlos Cuadras and an eighth-round stoppage of Srisaket Sor Rungvisai), tonight’s win in opposition to Israel Gonzalez shall be seemed upon in years to come back as a studying expertise – and an important one at that – for Jesse Rodriguez. It will likely be remembered because the evening when the hype settled down somewhat however the schooling, for a 22-year-old who seemingly already is aware of a lot, continued unabated.