Jesse Rodriguez outpoints Cristian Gonzalez, wins WBO flyweight title
Jesse Rodriguez became a two-division world titleholder with a clear unanimous decision over Cristian Gonzalez on Saturday in his native San Antonio, but the 23-year-old technician (once again the youngest major beltholder in boxing) wasn’t satisfied with how the fight went even though he had a good reason for not being at his best.
“It wasn’t the best performance (because) I got my jaw broken in the sixth round,” Rodriguez (18-0, 11 KOs) said during an uncomfortable post-fight interview on DAZN, which streamed the Matchroom Boxing USA show live. He somehow fought through the pain and kept hard pressure on Gonzalez (15-2, 5 KOs) en route to scores of 118-110, 117-111 and 116-112. The rounds that Gonzalez won were undoubtedly the late rounds when the elusive Mexican underdog stood his ground a little more and let his hands go in spots (which must have been excruciating for Rodriguez when they landed flush to his jaw).
However, Rodriguez’s stiff jabs, accurate power punching — especial his body attack — and ring-cutting ability kept him in command throughout the fight. The best that the light-hitting Gonzalez could hope for was to be pesky and gutsy enough to last the distance.
Rodriguez, who is currently The Ring’s No. 4-rated junior bantamweight due to his brief WBC 115-pound title reign last year, wasn’t impressed with Gonzalez’s constant lateral movement.
“He doesn’t want to engage in the fight, he kept moving, but that’s boxing,” he said. That’s also the style of The Ring’s No. 1-rated flyweight, unbeaten IBF titleholder Sunny Edwards, who has called out the Texan and has recently signed with Eddie Hearns’ Matchroom Boxing, which also promotes Rodriguez.
“Sunny Edwards, that’s the only option (for my next fight),” Rodriguez said, “he keeps talking, so that’s who I want next.”
Eddie Hearn said that flyweight title-unification bout could be made later in 2023, but Edwards might face another 112-pound titleholder, such as Julio Cesar Martinez or Artem Dalakian, over the summer while Rodriguez’s jaw heals.