If Sunny Edwards could write his dream calendar for 2023, it would feature a fight with Jesse “Bam Rodriguez, a unification and then kick-off 2024 with a fight in Japan.
Edwards defends his IBF flyweight against Felix Alvarado in Sheffield on Friday night, but already has his eyes on other things. Indeed, he is still smarting that a unification with Julio Cesar Martinez fell through, something he puts down to the Mexican’s financial demands.
“This shouldn’t be the fight I am having right now, I should have already faced Martinez but he wanted $1 million to face me,” Edwards said.
“It was all done. I was offered something by Eddie (Hearn), I asked for 100,000 on top and they agreed. We shook hands on it, it was all agreed on my side. They offered him more than they agreed with me and he was asking for $1 million to fight me.
“He was probably being offered about $750,000. This is a big-money fight. He messaged me on Instagram saying ‘we will make the record for the biggest flyweight fight in history’. And I said ‘make sure you don’t let the opportunity go by, stay dedicated, stay on it and whenever you are ready we will make it’.”
The rivalry with Martinez goes back. After all, Martinez was the man who effectively ended the reign as WBC flyweight champion of Edwards’s brother Charlie. Martinez knocked out Edwards with a punch on the floor, which resulted in him being handed back his title, only to then give it up as he could not make the weight.
“It’s genuine, it’s not like I like him,” Edwards said. “He came over, took my brother’s momentum, took my brother’s promoter and failed a drug test all in one clean sweep. I don’t like him at all.
“He fought a badly weight-drained Charlie Edwards. He was having to work really hard to even make the check weights. Then in the fight he hits him with a completely sly punch on the floor. He is down then he makes a move and then he hits him.
“But I will never price myself out of a big fight. The opportunity and the platform means so much to me I would never price myself out of it.
“All I want is a 20ft ring – not a 24ft one like Billy Joe Saunders asked for – and a single canvas.
“I think Eddie Hearn knows, Eddy Reynoso knows, and he knows that if he gets in the ring with me it is only going one way, so he has to make it a cash out fight. Yes, he might have a chance to knock me out. But no one else has come close before.”
Edwards’s ears lit up when he heard Rodriguez saying he wanted to move down to flyweight to face him, although he fears he could be squeezed out if he decides to face Martinez instead.
“When Bam Rodriguez says he is coming down to take my world title, I will oblige him,” Edwards said. “I will do everything I can to make sure that is my next fight. Everyone says he is going to beat me and I can’t have that.
“If he ends up fighting Martinez, then he has avoided me as well.
“He says he wants to step down and fight me, but if he doesn’t I’m not going to sit around at flyweight too long.
“I don’t struggle at the weight so I could move down or up. Some people think I am delusional, or I believe in myself too much. But until someone gives me the experience of not being in control in the ring, I don’t know anything else.”
One other thing for the bucket list is a fight in Japan around New Year. Certainly, there would be no shortage of possible opponents.
“My birthday is January 1 and Japan is the place where they always have big fights at New Year,” he said. “That would be a dream come true.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.