What became obvious Saturday night is that boxing has developed a new marquee fighter in Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez, the repeat junior bantamweight champion who smiled through a knockdown and then made his veteran-champion foe suffer with a devastating finishing body blow.

The 24-year-old Rodriguez’s performance was so enlightening that it caused the mind to race.

Can a junior bantamweight become a major draw?

What will he do next?

What is his ceiling?

“He has the mindset of a fighter. He wants all the smoke,” ProBox TV analyst Chris Algieri said on Monday’s episode of “Deep Waters,” which focused on Rodriguez’s seventh-round knockout of two-division champion Juan Francisco Estrada, 36, in Phoenix.

“This kid’s going to be around for a long time. I’m closing my eyes and thinking about when Bam Rodriguez will be the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, which will be in a couple years.

“He’s got the footwork, the defense, the chin and heart. He hits the head and body.”

Yet for the depth of that praise, it has been problematic for lighter-weight fighters to capture America’s attention given the presence of the heavyweights and the impressive reigns (until recently) of those campaigning in the middleweight and welterweight divisions.

But now San Antonio’s former flyweight champion Rodriguez (20-0, 13 KOs) joins Japan’s 122-pound undisputed champion Naoya Inoue in the top five of the mythical pound-for-pound rankings and finds an awaiting globe of opportunity stretching from Saudi Arabia to Japan to conquer and continue raising his profile.

“He’s done well and he’s 24. Bam is not interested in meaningless fights. That’s always going to help the numbers,” Eddie Hearn, Rodriguez’s American promoter, told BoxingScene after Saturday’s bout. “What we’re doing is consistently building the numbers with the crowds [near 10,000 in Phoenix].

“We’ll continue to build that. The atmosphere was incredible, and I think his stock will continue to grow. Yes, he’s in a smaller weight class, but that’s why I ask for the respect that he be included among the names of [heavyweight champion Oleksandr] Usyk and two-time undisputed champions [Terence] Crawford and Inoue. [Rodriguez] fits that mold.

“This is just the beginning.”

While Estrada is contractually empowered to request an immediate rematch with Rodriguez – and he said he would after the bout – Rodriguez wants to face the winner of this weekend’s Kazuto Ioka-Fernando Martinez junior bantamweight unification in Japan.

Rodriguez said he would be pleased to venture to Japan, where 55,000 filled the Tokyo Dome in May to watch Inoue, and Hearn said he could foresee Saudi Arabia’s Turki Alalshikh making a push to bring the dynamic young champion and recently promoted top-five pound-for-pound resident to the oil-rich nation.

Algieri said he admires the purity of Rodriguez’s push to “collect the belts and then worry about the rest – one foot in front of the other, one body in front of the next. Right now, [Bam] is a train that doesn’t see stop.”

“Deep Waters” analyst Paulie Malignaggi also likes the idea of the 115-pounder unifying belts instead of reaching up in weight to chase Inoue, who is poised to move to featherweight (126 pounds) next year. 

“Unifying is a big deal to solidify his place among the elites in the sport,” Malignaggi said.

“This kid is an unbelievable talent, an unbelievable fighter, and every time I watch him fight, I’m super-impressed not only by his ability to win and beat the top guys but by doing it while being fun.”

Algieri said as he inspected replays of Rodriguez’s knockout of Estrada, he was struck by the textbook, “video-game” like diversity of his attack.

“Bam Rodriguez, thank you for showing up and doing what you do, over and over,” Algieri said.