Jesse Rodriguez put to rest any claims of being the smaller man in any given matchup at junior bantamweight.
The 22-year-old southpaw arrived in peak condition for his hometown headliner versus former two-time WBC 115-pound champ Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. Both boxers made weight for their scheduled 12-round main event, which airs live on DAZN this Saturday from Tech Port Arena in San Antonio, Texas.
Rodriguez arrived at a shredded 114.6 pounds for the first defense of the WBC junior bantamweight title. Sor Rungvisai (50-5-1, 43KOs) also came in at 114.6 pounds in a bid to become a three-time champ.
The matchup comes full circle, with Rodriguez (15-0, 10KOs) facing and defeating Mexico City’s Carlos Cuadras on just six days’ notice to claim the vacant WBC belt this past February 5 in Phoenix, Arizona. Rodriguez was due to fight for a regional flyweight title on the undercard, when he got the call and accepted an offer to replace an ill Sor Rungvisai in the DAZN-aired main event.
Sor Rungvisai was the mandatory challenger for the title, able to retain his position that he has held for nearly two years after enjoying two title reigns. His first reign lasted just six months, ending in a technical decision defeat to Cuadras in May 2014. The Thai southpaw regained the belt in a March 2017 points win over Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez, scoring an emphatic fourth-round knockout of the Nicaraguan legend in their September 2017 rematch.
An incredible title reign continued with a twelve-round win over Juan Francisco Estrada in February 2018, making one more defense before losing to Estrada in their April 2019 rematch. Sor Rungvisai has since won three straight.
The bout tops a show that was to boast four title fights, down to a still impressive three following WBC flyweight titlist Julio Cesar Martinez (18-2, 14KOs) withdrawing from a planned rematch with Puerto Rico’s McWilliams Arroyo.
Below are the weights for the undercard bouts on the main DAZN telecast, beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Murodjon Akhmadaliev (10-0, 7KOs), Chust, Uzbekistan, 121.2 pounds vs. Ronny Rios (33-3, 16KOs), Santa Ana, California, 121.8 pounds—12 rounds, for Akhmadeliev’s WBA/IBF junior featherweight titles
Jessica McCaskill (11-2, 4KOs), Chicago, 144 pounds vs. Alma Ibarra (10-1, 5KOs), Monterrey, 144.4 pounds—10 rounds, for McCaskill’s undisputed (lineal/WBC/WBA/IBF/WBO) welterweight championship
Raymond Ford (11-0-1, 6KOs), Camden, New Jersey, 125.8 pounds vs. Richard Medina (13-0, 7KOs), San Antonio, 125.4 pounds—10 rounds, featherweight
Below are the weights for DAZN’s ‘Before The Bell’ preliminary undercard, beginning at 6:15 p.m. ET.
Nikita Ababiy (11-0, 6KO), Brooklyn, 156.6 pounds vs. Noe Larios Jr. (14-1, 6KOs), Ramona, California, 156.4 pounds—8 rounds, junior middleweight
Jesus Martinez (1-0, 0KOs), Del Rio, Texas, 120 pounds vs. Keven Monroy (1-2, 1KO), Spring Valley, California, 120.2 pounds—4 rounds, bantamweight
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox