Boxing fans may have to rein in their expectations as it relates to seeing a fight between Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez and Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez anytime soon.
Talk of seeing San Antonio’s Rodriguez, one of the youngest elite fighters in boxing, against Nicaragua’s Gonzalez, a veteran who is regarded as one of the greatest fighters in history in the lower weight classes, has ramped up this past year after Rodriguez emerged out of nowhere earlier this year to make his mark in the sport.
On paper, a fight between the two seems like it could be made with the snap of a finger.
Both fight in and around the same weight class and, most importantly, share the same promoters in Teiken, the storied Japanese outfit led by Akihiko Honda, and Matchroom, the British firm headed by Eddie Hearn. But those common denominators apparently are not enough, according to Rodriguez, to make that fight a reality. Rodriguez seemed to suggest the reluctance was coming from Teiken.
“I mean, we’ve talked about it before, between me and Teiken Promotions,” Rodriguez told DAZN’s Chris Mannix during the telecast for the junior bantamweight title bout between Gonzalez and Juan Francisco Estrada in Glendale, Arizona. “It’s a very hard fight to make just because we deal with the same promoter, Mr. Honda. I mean, like I said, it would be a hard fight to make. We respect each other to the fullest, and it’s a fight that’s very hard to make.”
Rodriguez did not specify why sharing the same promoter would be a deterrent to making a fight, a notion that is admittedly at odds with the contemporary boxing business in which attractive fights routinely do not get made because the fighters are aligned with different promotional entities and networks. Both Gonzalez and Rodriguez fight on DAZN.
Hearn has publicly indicated that he would prefer that Rodriguez stay at 115 and fight the likes of Gonzalez, but that apparently is not a sentiment shared by Rodriguez's trainer Robert Garcia.
Rodriguez (17-0, 11KOs) has had a banner year. In February, he earned the WBC junior bantamweight title by decisioning Carlos Cuadras; the 22-year-old accepted the fight on one week’s notice after the original opponent, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai of Thailand, had to pull out because of an illness. What’s more, Rodriguez moved up from flyweight to challenge Cuadras. Then in June, Rodriguez defended his belt when he went up against Sor Rungvisai, stopping the tough Thai veteran in the eighth round.
Since then, Rodriguez vacated his 115-pound title in order to focus making a stand at 112. According to a recent report by BoxingScene.com, Rodriguez will challenge Mexico’s Cristian Gonzalez next spring for the WBO 112-pound title.
The 35-year-old Gonzalez (51-4, 41 KOs) is coming off a spirited third fight with rival Estrada (44-3, 28 KOs) on Saturday night in Arizona. Estrada was declared the winner via majority decision after 12 hard-fought rounds.