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Bam Rodriguez Delivers Desert Drama, Stops Gallo Estrada

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Bam Rodriguez Delivers Desert Drama, Stops Gallo Estrada
Photo Credit: Amanda Wescott, Matchroom Boxing

If there's any doubt who the best super flyweight in the world is, Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez of San Antonio, Texas, left the evidence in a heap on the canvas at the Footprint Center in Phoenix on Saturday night. A first-ballot Hall of Fame piece of evidence at that.

Jesse Rodriguez drilled Juan Francisco Estrada with a left hook to the liver for the knockout win. Photo: Amanda Westcott, Matchroom Bam Rodriguez

Jesse Rodriguez drilled Juan Francisco Estrada with a left hook to the liver for the knockout win. Photo: Amanda Westcott, Matchroom

In a bout that was pegged to be a Fight Of The Year candidate, it somehow exceeded expectations, Bam Rodriguez delivered a body shot at the end of the seventh round, dropping Juan Francisco Estrada of Sonora, Mexico, earning him a seventh-round knockout victory at the three-minute mark.

Rodriguez, age 24 (20-0, 13 KOs), dominated most of the fight, knocking down Estrada (44-4, 28 KOs) in the fourth round before getting the seventh-round knockout victory.

Juan Francisco Estrada could not beat the count from referee Chris Flores. Photo: Melina Pizano, Matchroom

Juan Francisco Estrada could not beat the count from referee Chris Flores. Photo: Melina Pizano, Matchroom

Rodriguez regained the WBC World Super Flyweight championship he initially won in 2022 when he fought Carlos Cuadras of Mexico on four days' notice. He also won the Ring Magazine championship.

“He's a tough fighter. He has more knockouts than I have fights. That says a lot in itself. It's an honor to share the ring with Gallo, take his belt. It's onto bigger things from here,” said Rodriguez.

Bam Rodriguez Off To A Strong Start

Bam Rodriguez took it to the veteran Juan Francisco Estrada from the opening bell. Photo: Amanda Westcott, Matchroom

Bam Rodriguez took it to the veteran Juan Francisco Estrada from the opening bell. Photo: Amanda Westcott, Matchroom

Rodriguez controlled the fight from the opening bell, using his quickness and arsenal of offensive weapons to always stay one step ahead of Estrada.

The first knockdown came from a left hand from Rodriguez. Estrada got up and managed to stave off Rodriguez for the final 12 seconds of the fourth round.

Despite being dominated the entire fight, the 34-year-old veteran “El Gallo” showed his Hall of Fame heart by dropping Rodriguez early in the sixth round with a right hand.

Juan Francisco Estrada caught Jesse Rodriguez with a right hand and scored a flash knockdown. Photo: Amanda Westcott, Matchroom

Juan Francisco Estrada caught Jesse Rodriguez with a right hand and scored a flash knockdown. Photo: Amanda Westcott, Matchroom

Rodriguez admitted he got caught with a counter right hand and went to the canvas for the first time in his career. “I got a little careless, and that's why I got dropped.

“It was crazy. I always wanted to experience that. I know it's bad, but I wanted to know what it was like to get knocked down,” said Rodriguez. “And now I know. I never want it to happen again.

“I was warned even the round before to stay calm and focus on my defense. I know I got too comfortable before the knockdown.”

Rodriguez quickly recovered. In the seventh round, he continued his assault with a little more dedication to defense.

First Knockout Loss of Estrada's Career

Juan Francisco Estrada said the loss was due to his own mistakes. Photo: Amanda Westcott, Matchroom

Toward the end of the round, he briefly stunned Estrada with a body shot. He landed a second perfectly placed left hook to the liver. Estrada hit the canvas, rolling in agony, and could not rise as referee Chris Flores counted him out.

“When I saw the way he was rolling on the floor, I knew it was it,” said Rodriguez. “I thought he would get up at first, but then I realized he wasn't.”

Estrada owned the loss, the first stoppage in his impressive career.

“What I need to do a bit more in the next fight is to box a little bit more. We had really good preparation. We’ll put it right in the second fight,” said Estrada.

Asked about the knockout punch, Estrada said, “I’ve not felt a punch like that since my amateur days, where I was hit by a left hook to the body exactly the same as that. I’ve made errors in this fight. I want to put them right in the second fight.”

Estrada denied underestimating Rodriguez. “As I say, I made mistakes tonight, and that’s what happened.”

Bam Estrada 2 Ahead?

Jesse Rodriguez celebrates his win over Juan Francisco Estrada. Photo: Amanda Westcott, Matchroom

Estrada has a rematch clause and plans to exercise his right to it. “Of course. That’s in the contract. So we’ll take that rematch, and there’s no doubt we’ll win that rematch,” said Estrada.

Rodriguez said he'd prefer to fight the winner of the upcoming July 7 unification fight between WBA World Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka of Japan and IBF Super Flyweight champion Fernando Martinez of Argentina fight.

“I'll fight anyone,” said Rodriguez. “And I'd love to fight in Japan if Ioka wins. It doesn't matter where I fight.”

Hearn: ‘Three Letters – Bam'

Jesse Rodriguez celebrates with his team after winning his title fight against Juan Francisco Estrada at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo: Amanda Westcott, Matchroom

“Incredible, breathtaking. This young man is 24 years of age. When you mention Crawford, when you mention Usyk, when you mention Inoue on the pound-for-pound fighters in the world, you better include three special letters: Bam,” said Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn.

“Bam Rodriguez is a pound-for-pound star,” declared Hearn, who thanked Estrada for his performance.

Although they didn't factor in, the scorecards were close at the time of the stoppage: 58-54 for Rodriguez, 57-56 for Estrada, and 56-56 even.

“That was one of those old fashioned (Julio Ceasar) Chavez scorecards,” joked Rodriguez' trainer Robert Garcia, who could afford the laugh.

Rodriguez landed 156-of-371 punches thrown (42%). Estrada landed 95 of 368 punches thrown (26%).

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