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Jesse Rodríguez Drops Down in Weight to Face Cristian González for a 112-pound Belt

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  • Jesse Rodríguez Drops Down in Weight to Face Cristian González for a 112-pound Belt

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    by J.J. Alvarez

    Perhaps no other boxer this year has had the impactful triumphs of San Antonio’s Jesse Rodríguez, who, with three indisputable victories over a span of seven months, landed atop the super flyweight division.

    On February 5th, 16 days after his 22nd birthday, Rodríguez accepted the colossal challenge of moving up two divisions, with only six days to prepare for the match against fellow Mexican Carlos Cuadras (39-5-1, 27 KOs), a seasoned former world champion whose record includes bouts with monsters Román “Chocolatito” González and Juan Francisco “El Gallo” Estrada.

    Still undefeated, Rodríguez (17-0, 11 KOs) surprised the boxing world by unquestionably defeating Cuadras by unanimous decision in the dispute for the vacant WBC belt. With that victory, Rodríguez became the youngest current world champion.

    The opportunity to fight Cuadras presented itself when Thai fighter Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (also known by Wisaksil Wangek), another former world champion, tested positive for COVID-19. After Rungvisai’s recovery, a fight between him and Rodríguez was scheduled for June. Rodríguez defeated him with what was another commendable performance, knocking him out in the eighth round.

    Rodríguez quickly returned to competitive action on September 17th, fighting on the undercard of Canelo vs GGG at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Rodríguez came out with his arm raised, winning by unanimous decision against Israel González. This was Rodríguez’s second defense of the WBC belt at 115 pounds.

    JESSE RODRÍGUEZ GOES DOWN TO THE FLYWEIGHT DIVISION

    In a striking and unusual decision, Rodríguez recently reported that he is vacating the 115-pound title to try his luck as a flyweight. With a defined objective, Rodríguez attended the 35th WBO Convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico and made a formal request to join the flyweight division which lacked a world champion since Junto Nakatani (23 -0, 18 KOs) decided to abandon the crown and compete at 118 pounds.

    The WBO Qualifications Committee, in addition to unanimously approving Rodríguez's entry, decided that he would face fellow Mexican Cristian González (15-1, 5 KOs) for the title. González is currently ranked first by the WBO.

    According to attendees of the WBO Convention, some of the representatives of Rodríguez and González stated that negotiations would begin immediately in an attempt to promptly schedule the fight for January or February in the US.

    González has nine consecutive victories, the most recent by knockout in the first round against 38-year-old veteran Juan Zuñiga (25-12-1, 14 KOs) in Mexico. González's only loss came three years ago by split decision against Angel Ayala (15-0, 7 KOs).

    EDDIE HEARN PRAISES JESSE RODRIGUEZ

    Eddie Hearn, who promotes Rodríguez via Matchroom Boxing, stated, “It’s one of the fastest rises, I think, to domination of divisions I’ve ever seen. And it’s so remarkable that you got a guy that I would back to beat any fighter at 108, 112 and 115 pounds. That actually goes for ‘Chocolatito’ and Estrada, two greats. I feel ‘Chocolatito’ is getting better and better. I would back Jesse Rodriguez to beat those guys now.

    “I feel like if you’ve beaten Cuadras, you’ve beaten Rungvisai, the only next step for him at 115 is the Estrada-Chocolatito winner,” Hearn said. “Actually, he could fight the winner or loser of that fight. And, you know, Teiken (Promotions) and Mr. (Akihiko) Honda has ‘Chocolatito,’ and I keep talking about that fight. Obviously, everyone’s friends, but in time, that might be a fight that’s so big that both fighters go, ‘Yeah, we wanna be a part of that.’ … (Rodriguez) wants to fight the winner. You know, I mean, it’s quite unusual to be a guy fighting on the undercard that could beat both guys (in the main event). For me, I think that’s the natural fight, to fight the winner of that fight.”

    Gonzalez and Estrada, who are currently tied at one win each, will have an opportunity to prove their superiority when they face each other for the third time on December 3rd. Gonzalez, who generally focuses on the task at hand, also acknowledges Rodriguez’s talent. “If that fight was to ever happen, it would be a great fight. He’s a good champion on his way up. It would be a great fight.”

    Article submitted by Jorge Juan Alvarez in Spanish.

    Please note any adjustments made were for clarification purposes and any errors in translation were unintentional.


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