Fans are in for a wonderful treat this weekend with the anticipated clash of undefeated flyweight champions. Who will war it out for the unification of the WBO and IBF belts?
The Rodriguez vs. Edwards matchup is a must-see fight with two fearless warriors: Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez of San Antonio, Texas (18-0, 11 KOs) and Sunny Edwards of London (20-0, 4 KOs). Their styles and elite-level skills have the potential for beautifully delivered performances.
Rodriguez is a Serious Talent
Unified WBO champion Rodriguez is a natural talent. Still just 23 years old and trained by one of boxing's best trainers in Robert Garcia, Rodriguez has immaculately exhibited his unique abilities.
Among the standout performances in Rodriguez's career capturing attention was his fight against the tried-and-true veteran Srisaket Sor Rungvisai of Thailand (50-6-1, 43 KOs at the time).
To attentive observers, Rodriguez’s subtle sidesteps to confound his opponent and deliver timely opportunistic combination punching were too much for Rungvisai. Rodriguez’s footwork graced the ring to set up and methodically catch Rungvisai, alongside his defense on the inside and at midrange.
Rodriguez’s precision combos and sneaky maneuvers delivered the impression Rodriguez could execute anything in the ring he could visualize, landing 14 jabs per round, 54% of his total punches, and 66% of his power punches per CompuBox.
Rungvisai tumbled over his own feet in some instances. It eventually led to referee Mark Calo-oy stopping the fight at 1:50 in round eight.
Edwards Plays the Mind Games
On the flip side, we have Sunny Edwards. Edwards has a completely distinct approach when it comes to the fight game. One Edwards tool not discussed much is his mental approach.
Edwards claims it's not his intention to ‘win the mental game’ per se. But he admits he is flashy, cocky, and arrogant. Whether Edwards acknowledges it or not, his personality and how he carries himself gets under opponents’ skin before and during fights.
Not many fighters opt for the psychological advantage, which is up for grabs for anyone. A lot concerns a fighter’s personality, upbringing, and training. His bold look, lack of respect, and his ‘I will fight you right now’ body language send a message without saying a word.
Edwards carries the same mentality and psyche in the ring. He smiles at fighters’ contributions in the ring while staring deeply into their eyes, sending the message they can’t accomplish much against him. He increases such disappointment in fighters when they get hit by his exchanges on the inside.
He boastfully raises his hand at times (as he did in a faceoff with Rodriguez). Any fighter facing Edwards ought to have thick skin and a strong mind to overcome his approach.
Edwards possesses an unorthodox style to challenge his opponents. His record proves he is quite elusive with his feet, hard to catch at times. He can choose to brawl toe-to-toe at the flip of a dime.
If he senses anger, he will fuel it by choosing to go from a boxing match into an all-out fight, then use his feet to leave his opponent swinging wide for the fences, mocking them for their lack of accuracy.
In addition to his elusiveness, Edwards knows how to keep his head off the center line when he needs to with his feet and upper-body movement.
Rodriguez vs. Edwards Clash of Champions
This anticipated clash of elite flyweight champions will be an early holiday present for boxing fans on Saturday, December 16, from the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona. The Matchroom Boxing promoted fight card will air on DAZN starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
Both young-hearted, ambitious, legacy-thirsty wills shall be tested and questions answered in Rodriguez vs. Edwards. Only one will come out victorious. Will it be Rodriguez or Edwards?