Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez is once again a world champion, now in a second weight class.
The unbeaten 23-year-old became a two-division world champion by claiming a 12-round unanimous decision over an elusive Cristian Gonzalez of Mexico (15-2, 5 KOs). The defeat snapped a nine-bout winning streak for Gonzalez.
Scores were 116-112, 117-111, and 118-110 for Rodriguez (18-0, 11 KOs), who claimed the vacant WBO flyweight title in the DAZN-streamed main event Saturday evening at Boeing Center at Tech Port in his hometown of San Antonio.
Rodriguez won his first title in February 2022 with a win over Carlos Cuadras of Mexico. He made two defenses, an eighth-round TKO victory over Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and a 12-round unanimous decision triumph against Israel Gonzalez. The latest opportunity came after he vacated his WBC junior bantamw title to drop back down to his natural weight division at 112 pounds.
His victory came at a cost. Rodriguez told DAZN's Chris Mannix after the fight that he fought for half the fight with a broken jaw which he reportedly sustained in the sixth round. Rodriguez left theue to be treated at a local hospital after the bout.
Investment In Body Punching
In the opening round, Rodriguez p, forcings jab to keep Gonzalez on the back foot.
In round two, Rodriguez connected with a hard left uppercut to the body that forced Gonzalez to take a deep breath once he escaped the corner. With around 20 seconds to go, Rodriguez landed a left behind the ear. Gonzalez complained it was a rabbit punch. Moments before the bell rung, Rodriguez hurt him to the body.
Rodriguez continued to invest in the body in round two, almost too much. He drilled Gonzalez with a low blow, which briefly caused a lull in the action.
At the one-minute mark, Gonzalez tried to use the ring and his jab to keep Rodriguez at bay. However, that effort fell short of the mark when Rodriguez connected with a left hand to the liver that forced Gonzalez to reconsider his options.
The fourth round was Ferrari vs. bicycle. Rodriguez was the muscle car as he continued to chase down Gonzalez and land shots against him at will. He mixed up his attack with hard punches to the body and solid right hooks upstairs.
The undefeated Rodriguez was relentless with his pressure once again to open up round five. Gonzalez, who has never gone 12 rounds,was h from a sustained body attack.
In the sixth, Rodriguez fired off successive combinations, lefts to the solar plexus, and to the chin. Although he didn't appear to waste any punches during the round, a left hand from Gonzalez landed flush. This is the punch which reportedly broke Rodriguez's jaw. With 30 seconds left, Rodriguez backed Gonzalez into the ropes from anoA In the waning moments, a clash of heads bothe in the waning momentsred Gonzalez as he winced.
With 1:20 remaining in the eighth round, Gonzalez landed with a couple of jabs, one which snapped Rodriguez' head back. However, the latter came back with a hard left hand. About a minute later, Rodriguez followed Gonzalez to the ropes. Thanged shots, but Rodriguez landed the harder punch, another stiff left hand that forced Gonzalez to hold.
Rodriguez, who is trained by Robert Garcia, connected with a sharp right hook that froze Gonzalez in his tracks to start the ninth. The rest was more of the same as Rodriguez continued to stalk and pound Gonzalez with an assortment of blows.
Gonzalez resorted to survival in the tenth, while Rodriguez used his jab to try and set up Gonzalez for a big shot. He utilized the jab to mix in some left hands and a pair of body shots, but Gonzalez proceeded to use his lateral movement to keep Rodriguez stalking.
In the closing stages of the 11th, Rodriguez landed a one-two combination right on the button. The crowd booed for much of the frame as they wanted more action.
Rodriguez drilled Gonzalez with a big overhand left with 1:50 remaining in the 12th round of their championship contest. With a minute to go, Gonzalez held onto Rodriguez before the crowd encouraged the latter tUltimatelytrong. It ended how much of the fight played out, Rodriguez stalking, and Gonzalez trying not to get knocked out. In the end, Gonzalez made it to the finish line, and Rodriguez became a two-division world champion.
And The New: Tapales Takes Titles From Akhmadaliev
In the chief support bout, Marlon Tapales of the Philippines accomplished a lifelong dream.
Tapales (37-3, 19 KOs) upset previously undefeated/unified world champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev of Uzbekistan (11-1, 8 KOs) by split decision to win the WBC/IBF junior featherweight titles.
Judge Javier Alvarez turned in a stunning score of 118-110 for Akhmadaliev. However, he was overruled by Sergio Caiz and Jose Roberto Torres, who both scored the fight 115-113 for Tapales. NY Fights scored it 116-112 for Tapales.
The all-southpaw title fight struggled to light a spark. The opening round was dismal as both fighters provided little to no offense. The crowd erupted in boos towards the end of the round. Akhmadaliev landed a left hand in the final moments to end the first on a positive note.
Tapales woke up Akhmadaliev with 2:07 left in the second round. He connected with an uppercut and consecutive straight left hands that knocked him back. With around 47 seconds remaining, Tapales landed a left and a right uppercut that surprised Akhmadaliev.
It was more of the same in round three as Tapales controlled the pace with his jab and hard shots that kept Akhmadaliev tentative in the pocket. The 31-year-old Tapales, known as “Nightmare,” connected with an overhand left that MJ didn't see coming.
The fourth round was dictated by the jab and Tapales once again was the captain of the ship. He continuously connected with hard jabs from the southpaw stance. With about 30 seconds remaining in the frame, Akhmadaliev landed a hard left cross that Tapales took well.
Akhmadaliev finally broke through in the fifth round when he landed a hard right hand. However, Tapales returned to jabbing Akhmadaliev and drew blood from his nose as the one-sided contest continued.
The sixth round was closer. Tapales landed the harder punches, including a left hand that rocked Akhmadaliev. With 1:25 left in the action, Akhmadaliev surprised Tapales with a right hand that knocked him back. However, the Filipino went back to jabbing Akhmadaliev from the outside.
Akhmadaliev nailed Tapales with a left hand right out of the gate to open the seventh round. The Uzbek fighter subsequently turned the tables on his adversary and began to walk down Tapales with the jab. With 1:20 left in the round, Akhmadaliev connected with an overhand right, followed by a low blow, which the referee missed. Moments later, Tapales caught Akhmadaliev with a two-punch combination, a straight left hand, and a right hook.
In the ninth, Akhmadaliev fought with a sense of urgency and backed Tapales into the ropes with a left-right combination. Akhmadaliev walked down Tapales in the tenth round with hard left hands down the middle. He continued to back up Tapales and at the end of frame, threw a six-punch combination. However, none appeared to land on Tapales, who was effectively evading the attack.
Both fighters immediately exchanged to start the 12th and final round. The action started well for Akhmadaliev, who connected with a shot that nearly dropped Tapales and followed up with a lead uppercut, leading Tapales to release a loud shriek. With 40 seconds left, Akhmadaliev landed a pair of crisp left hands that backed Tapales into the ropes. He subsequently targeted the body to close out like a champion.
Undercard results: Ford, Mattice Win
Also on the undercard: 130-pound contender Raymond Ford of Camden, New Jersey (14-0-1, 7 KOs) dropped former world champion Jessie Magdaleno of Las Vegas (29-2, 18 KOs) twice, once apiece in rounds four and 11, en route to a 12-round unanimous decision to remain unbeaten.
Junior lightweight contender Thomas Mattice (21-3-1, 16 KOs) scored a controversial 10th-round stoppage over previously unbeaten Ramiro Cesena (16-1-1, 13 KOs).