There are era-defining fights and fighters. When boxing is at its finest, you get a handful of them in the identical weight class on the similar time, and in an ideal world all of them battle one another. Going again practically a decade, we received simply that with the ascendance of all time nice Roman “Chocolatitio” Gonzalez. Within the strategy of cleansing out flyweight, Gonzalez met and defeated a younger Juan Francisco Estrada in a splendidly technical 2012 motion battle. Not lengthy after, three kilos north at junior bantamweight, Carlos Cuadras and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai fought to a technical determination. An off-the-cuff spherical robin had begun that might dominate junior bantamweight for a number of years, offering extra drama alongside the way in which than any in current reminiscence, and placing the diminutive protagonists on the headline of HBO playing cards.
For a time, Gonzalez appeared unbeatable: an all-time nice nonetheless in his prime, humiliating these he fought, till a monkey wrench was thrown within the machine by Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. In March 2017, the Thai fighter used his thudding energy and granite chin to muscle his option to a majority determination win that many (learn most) thought that Chocolatito deserved to win. Six months later, in the principle occasion of the primary HBO “Superfly” card, Sor Rungvisai let the world know that it wasn’t a fluke by dispatching Gonzalez in 4 brutal rounds. Having defeated Cuadras, the competition for superiority got here all the way down to Estrada and Sor Rungvisai; the pair buying and selling wins in 2018 and 2019, the latter being memorable for Sor Rungvisai electing to battle orthodox, and presumably shedding due to it.
Although having been confirmed beatable, it was clear that anybody wishing to hold a loss on Sor Rungvisai ought to plan on taking the complete 12 rounds and realizing the “Rat King” can be of their grill chunking bricks from any variety of angles, your personal punching energy be damned. He merely wouldn’t be discouraged, and seemingly couldn’t be damage on the weight.
Time is a humorous factor, although. It comes for us all and we by no means know when that can be or what type it’ll take. Saturday evening on a DAZN televised card from the Tech Port Enviornment in San Antonio, the Reaper got here for the Rat King, and he wore pink.
The Reaper on this case got here within the type of Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez (16-0, 11KO). The precocious 22-year-old Texan had flown below many radars, except you had been to take the phrase of his coach Robert Garcia, who’s been saying for a few years that Bam is one of the best fighter at his gymnasium. No imply feat. In case you didn’t know who he was earlier than, you bought introduction final February as he jumped up two weight lessons on brief discover and completely out-fought, out-punched, and outboxed Carlos Cuadras to win a large determination.
The individuals who appeared to assume he may repeat that dominance towards Sor Rungvisai (50-6-1, 43 KO) had been his staff and the oddsmakers, who put in Rodriguez as a -500 favourite (guess $500 to win $100). And so they had been proper. Rodriguez managed the battle from the primary bell using his better attain and far better foot velocity to pepper Sor Rungvisai from distance after which hammer him from angles in shut. On the shut of the first spherical, Rodriguez landed a thudding one-two that snapped Sor Rungvisai’s head again. As he tried to reply, Rodriguez stepped away from his lunge and dropped an enormous proper hook on his temple. There appeared to be nothing the Thai may do to stem the tide. You might inform your self that it was ring rust and a sluggish begin, each being completely cheap explanations, however because the opening rounds become the center, that was clearly flawed. Within the 4th Rodriguez dropped an exquisite proper hook-overhand left on Sor Rungvisai that bobbed his head round like a Weeble Wobble. When Sor Rungvisai tried to reply, Rodriguez ducked and detonated a proper hook that induced Sor Rungvisai to graze a glove on the canvas to maintain his stability.
A punishing jab was Rodriguez’s first line of assault. Straight, onerous and really fast, it crunched house seemingly each time he threw it. It was doing harm but it surely was additionally stopping Sor Rungvisai in his tracks each time he steamed forward. Behind the jab had been proper hooks and left crosses, most frequently thrown simply after Bam had pivoted to both facet, successfully making certain Sor Rungvisai would flip straight into them. Rodriguez was touchdown over 50% of his punches, and irrespective of how robust you’re, when that occurs you’re in deep shit.
By the seventh Sor Rungvisai was starting to look discouraged. Or, maybe, he was simply trying crushed up, as a result of that’s what was occurring to him. The Rat King, the toughest man within the division, was being butchered and everybody, together with him, knew it. Indefatigable as at all times, Sor Rungvisai saved boring inwards, realizing that his solely probability was to get shut and damage Rodriguez. With simply over two minutes remaining within the spherical, Rodriguez landed a counter left that despatched Sor Rungvisai to all fours. He gamely rose and went again to work however the finish was inevitable.
The eighth spherical would show to be the final, fortunately. Sor Rungvisai’s head was despatched crusing by each landed punch and Rodriguez was closing for the kill. With 90 seconds remaining, a mixture despatched Sor Rungvisai staggering backward to the ropes. Rodriguez poured on the combos, every punch extra hurtful than the final till referee Mark Calo stepped in to cease the onslaught.
It was a star-making efficiency for Rodriguez. Each facet of his craft and expertise had been on full show, his effortlessly swish footwork simply as dazzling because the crunching combos. For a 22-year-old with simply 16 bouts to his identify, Rodriguez confirmed composure to rival his ability, each of which he’ll want as a result of the one 2 names above his now at junior bantamweight are Gonzalez and lineal champion Estrada. It’s tough to say who ought to be the favorites if these fights do come to move, however there’s no query that Rodriguez is prepared for anybody.
(Jesse Rodriguez, left, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, proper; picture by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom)