Bam Rodriguez has aspirations to become a legend in boxing, but a longtime friend won't be a part of the equation.
San Antonio's Rodriguez (19-0, 12 KOs) scored a ninth-round TKO of Sunny Edwards Saturday night at Desert Diamond Arena in Arizona to unify the IBF and WBO flyweight titles.
Leading up to the fight, the 23-year-old stated the fight would be his last at the weight as he intends to return to the 115-pound division to face lineal and WBC titleholder Juan Francisco Estrada.
Chocolatito Spared From Bam's Wrath
The one fighter he won't touch, however, is legendary four-division champion Roman ‘Chocolatito' Gonzalez (51-4, 41 KOs).
“People always ask that. There is a lot of respect between me and Chocolatito,” Rodriguez said in response to a question asked by NYFights. “Mr. Honda (head of Teiken Promotions, who promotes both fighters), I don't think he would like that too much.
“Every time people ask me that, I just say I don't think it's a possibility. It is a great fight; the respect is there between us. Estrada is a great champion, too, and I believe that's an even bigger fight.”
Unlike his longstanding rival in Gonzalez, Mexico's Estrada (44-3, 28 KOs) doesn't share that friendship with Rodriguez. The 33-year-old let it be known after the fight that he wasn't particularly impressed by Rodriguez's performance.
“He always has something to say about my performances,” Rodriguez said in response. “He claims that I'm a hype job and I'm not as good as people say. Why not get inside the ring with me and prove it to the people.”
Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn echoed the same sentiment.
“[Estrada] must be the only person on the planet [who wasn't impressed]. Well if he wasn't very impressed, it should be easy to make, right? I feel like he needs a new dance partner. The trilogy with Chocolatito was incredible, but beyond that, where are the big fights for him?
“Maybe a fight in Japan, but it's the natural fight. You got one guy who was a legend, potential Hall of Famer, potential pound-for-pound guy when he was more active against the new guy on the block. So, if that's the fight [Robert Garcia] wants, which he's indicated it is, we'll definitely be making him an offer for the fight.”