More people got a taste of what Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez has to offer as the co-main event on the Canelo vs. GGG 3 card, but it wasn't quite the performance Rodriguez hoped for after two sensational victories for the youngest world champion in boxing at age 22 in 2022.
After thoroughly dominating 35-year-old veteran former champion Srisikat Sor Rungvisai of Thailand just 83 days ago, Rodriguez (16-0, 11 KOs) was expected to put on a show of brilliance with some required resistance from perennial challenger Israel Gonzalez of Mexico (28-4-1, 11 KOs) to push him.
Gonzalez pushed him and made the young champion work hard to retain his WBC World Super Flyweight world title in a 12-round decision. Two scores were wide at 118-109 and 117-110; and 114-113, the last by Patricia Morse Jarman.
“He was game. I thought I was going to get him out of there. He was very awkward, very tough,” said Rodriguez.
Gonzalez, who hadn't read the script, had gone the distance in competitive losses to Khalil Yafai, Jerwin Ancajas, and Roman Gonzalez. He fought with a veteran's self-assurance, frustrating Rodriguez in early rounds. Bam kept chipping away, taking a shot when necessary to deliver his offense. He was winning rounds but not delivering the “greatness” he promised fans at Friday's weigh-in. The frustration began to show in the second half of the fight. Rodriguez was docked a point by referee Kenny Bayliss for low blows in the eighth round. Rodriguez said later the low blows weren't intentional, ‘it happens.'
Rodriguez, more naturally a flyweight, was fighting a bigger man in Gonzalez and fighting in a bigger moment than he must have anticipated. He's newly aware the eyes of the boxing world are on him, and he's heard the “Fighter of the Year” conversations. He said after the fight he believes he deserves Fighter of the Year honors. He'll be surpassed by Dmitry Bivol if Bivol defeats Zurdo Ramirez later this year. It's still been a banner year for Bam, and he's got plenty of time to earn his honors.
Akhmedov Rubs Out Rosado
Kazakh fans at the T-Mobile Arena finally got to make their presence known by cheering on super middleweight Ali Akhmedov of Kazakhstan (19-1. 14 KOs) against Philly's Gabriel Rosado (26-16-1, 13 KOs), who is still earning opportunities due to his explosive potential. They were rewarded with a shutout decision wi by Ahkmedov with scores of 100-90. While Akhmedov was the quicker, fresher man, reddening Rosado's face, Rosado was never out of the fight. Scoring round by round sometimes lacks nuance. Gabe remained dangerous, pushing Akhmedov back in the last two rounds as he made a stand. Akhmedov wins a vacant IBF title and WBC Silver.
Ammo Williams Grinds Out Decision Over Kieron Conway
Austin “Ammo” Williams of Houston (12-0, 9 KOs) faced a determined, durable Kieron Conway of Northampton, England (18-3-1, 4 KOs), who fought back hard through all ten scheduled rounds of their middleweight bout. Williams took it on the scorecards by scores of 97-92 X 2 and 96-93. These bouts might not thrill fans, but they're critical to a boxer's development. Williams will learn not to telegraph shots and better find the target against someone with solid skills like Conway.
Impressive Performance From Diego Pacheco
Diego Pacheco of Los Angeles (16-0, 13 KOs) kept his powder dry through four rounds against Enrique Collazo of Puerto Rico (16-3-1, 11 KOs) in their scheduled ten-round super middleweight bout. Just as fans were feeling restless, Pacheco struck like a cobra, dropping Collazo with a hard right rook followed by a flurry of body shots. Collazo beat referee Celestino Ruiz's count, but Ruiz called a halt to the bout seconds later at 2:29 of round five. Smart performance by Pacheco, who has real power in a solid division.
In early results, Mark Castro of Fresno, California (8-0, 6 KOs) fought cautiously in the early going against Kevin Montiel Mendoza of Mexico (7-2-2, 3 KOs), then unloaded a 45-style right hook/uppercut halfway through round six to end the fight. Referee Tony Weeks didn't bother to administer a count. Mendoza sat up slowly while Castro refrained from celebrating until he saw his opponent would be ok, then raised his hand in saluting the crowd together.
Anthony Herrera of Los Angeles (3-0-1, 2 KOs) won his fourth pro fight against Delvin McKinley of (4-4-1, 4 KOs) after the fight was called off in round five due to an accidental headbutt to McKinley. Scores were all 50-45.