|Flyweight rivals meet for the first time ahead of unification blockbuster in Glendale, Arizona on Dec 16, live on DAZN|
|Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez and Sunny Edwards came face-to-face for the first time at a launch press conference yesterday (September 21) in Orlando ahead of their blockbuster Flyweight unification clash at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona on Saturday December 16, live worldwide on DAZN.|
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The unbeaten pair meet in a mouth-watering battle to determine the top dog in the division, with WBO ruler Rodriguez and IBF king Edwards defending their titles for the first and fourth times respectively and both appearing in their first unification bouts.
Rodriguez and Edwards will appear on tomorrow night’s broadcast on DAZN where Richardson Hitchins headlines against Jose Zepeda on a card that features the return of British star Conor Benn. The pair will then head to London to continue the promotional activities around their December battle next week.
Here’s what the fighters had to say:
Jesse Rodriguez (18-0 11 KOs):
“I’ve never been one to say no to a fight, I’ve always said yes. This is the best vs. the best, it’s what every boxer dreams of, unifying titles. December 16 is going to be a movie.
“We’re two different people, he shows his confidence running his mouth, I show mine in the ring. I never have my will broken, in my last fight I broke my jaw and kept going for six rounds, that shows the confidence I have in myself, I know that anyone that I get in the ring with, I am going to beat.
“Sunny is a great fighter, every fight of his I’ve seen he’s the one on the back foot, hitting and moving, hit and don’t get hit, but I feel like he hasn’t faced anyone like me, someone with good footwork and the determination to win.
“This is the biggest fight of my career and I’m excited to finally face-off with Sunny. I saw a lot of talk about the fight before it was signed, so I know a lot of people are going to buy their tickets and tune in on December 16. My people from San Antonio are coming and I think it’s going to be like another hometown fight.
“I don’t need to hurt him. I just need to outpoint him. My last fight was a little glimpse of how the fight is going to go. I feel like I will be ready on December 16 and people need to tune in for something special. I’m going to go in and do what I do, it’s got me this far, this is no different. I’ll have the same mindset, a little different game plan that Robert and I are going to work on, so I’ll be ready. That belt right there is coming back to San Antonio.”
Sunny Edwards (20-0 4 KOs)
“Thank you to you Eddie, to DAZN, Bam and his team, Robert Garcia and Mr Honda; this is the fight that I have been waiting for before it was even Bam. Before he went up in the weights and shocked a great fighter and continued to do all of that, before that I’ve been waiting for the big event, and I think Jesse is one of the best fighters under 30 in the world right now, I don’t think it’s the only time we’ll be sat here and I don’t think it’s the only weight we’ll fight at either, I think we’ll see each other again.
“I’m really looking forward to the event, the whole process so far has been great – thanks for the first-class tickets, Eddie, we flew comfortably – this is what it’s about, sitting here, seeing his WBO title. I was on the WBO route before I was on the IBF route, so I’ve got all the WBO and IBF baubles around my house, so to have the two proper belts is a dream come true.
“I crave the challenge. Boxing has probably been too easy for me; I’ve been too much within myself. I am already into camp, I’ve been in Tenerife for a couple of weeks, had great sparring, I’m flying, if anything, the amount of time is a problem, but we have a good run up, we can build the fight up and it gives Bam time to recover from the last fight and the injury, I know what that’s like because I’ve been there myself. So, there was never questions like ‘should we take this fight?’ ‘Is this a good fight for me?’ When I signed with you Eddie, I said all the names I wanted to fight and what price, whenever and wherever, it wasn’t an issue who or where. I wanted the best fight and the easiest one to make, so props to the champion on your right, he’s the first person in my pro career that is a fight that I’ve wanted and got.
“Mind games, trying to get little advantages, get them in certain gloves, the ring size – all of that is so immaterial to me. He’s a great fighter, he’s shown that he’ll fight scarier fighters than me on paper at a weeks’ notice, so am I going to try and get inside his head? I don’t need to. His approach, demeanor and character in the sport is who he is, he’s not trying to be anyone else, he hasn’t taken this fight and started acting different. I don’t think I need an advantage; I think I am good enough, Bam is a tremendous fighter but the reality is to walk through the gates and get to the other side where I show how good I am, that I’ve got to go through a 23 year old fighter, that’s just the way I see it, a 30 year old Bam will be better than a 23 year old one.
“I’ve been in with fighters every bit as good as him, fighters that if he was in with them, it would be a hard fight for him. We’ll find out about each other in the ring. I don’t need to get in his head, I just like speaking about the fight and every day I wake up excited about it. I was talking more about Bam in the Campos fight week than I was caring about Campos. I knew I was going to beat him, I could have beaten him with my eyes closed, so I stood in range and let him throw as many punches as he wanted, and he still couldn’t beat me. Bam will be different, he’s more dangerous and a lot better, but at the same time, it’ll bring a better version of me out and I’m already seeing that in camp.
“It’s easy to just say ‘you have to cut the ring off against Sunny’ – everyone can cut the ring off. The thing with me is, I don’t go in with a set plan; I get in there, measure my range, and let them beat themselves. I don’t knock people out, I don’t need to, 16 unanimous decisions. I’ve beaten the best in the world, people that haven’t lost in 13 years, eight years, lots of KOs. I’m not scared of them, I sit in the pocket and trade with them, there’s nothing I haven’t seen in a boxing ring. He has got very good footwork, I’ll give him that, but defensively, reactions, composure, ring IQ – I feel I’ve got a skillset and mindset that is very hard to break down, to even get two rounds of success in a row is a hard enough task for most of my opponents.
“Maybe Bam is that first fighter in my 18 years of boxing that I will get in and feel like ‘he’s really good’, but I don’t think so. His youth with count against him once he gets in there. He talks about it being a home fight, they made sure of that, last year his team were saying they were coming to the UK to take my belt, that didn’t happen, he won the WBO as a vacant title at home. I never said ‘it has to be in the UK’ because I didn’t care. I never stalled on money, the ring size; that to me shows signs of a team that doesn’t have full belief in their system. I felt great disrespect from his stablemate and a legend in Chocolatito that he said that this is an easy fight for him; no-one has ever had an easy fight with me and it’s not going to start now. My message is clear, I beat Bam and there’s only one fight I want and that’s Roman Gonzalez.
“It’s only people that just watch me on fight night that say I don’t have any power. When I get in the ring, I make sure I win, I’m sorry my ego isn’t insecure enough that I’ll be sat there in the third round thinking ‘Eddie is saying I need to knock him out, I better do it’. The only thing that matters to me in my career is my contract, the roof over my kids’ heads and their schooling is winning. I get in there and win. Come down and watch me spar and then talk about who can and can’t punch hard. I don’t get in the ring and try to take people’s heads off.
“I get in there and give myself 100 per cent chance of the win. I don’t put myself in a position to land a big shot and can catch one back, and that’s going to be his biggest task in the fight. Is he the bigger puncher? Maybe. I think he plants his feet and tries to punch holes in people more, and it is, for some eyes, more exciting and entertaining, easier to market, easier to promote. It doesn’t make him any more likely to win, if anything, I would pick the fighter that gets in the ring in the first round and gets out after the 12th, and barely loses and minute or second of the fight.
“Regardless of how powerful or exciting it is, you look at the champions now, the Devin Haneys, the Shakur Stevensons, they do very little wrong. Are they going out there constantly trying to blow people out, no they are not. They box them and react to what is in front of them, and I think I do that. A 23 year old Bam is going to try to impress, maybe try to hurt me and say ‘no-one else has hurt him, but I can, I am that guy’. I am saying he’s not and no one in these weight classes is. But his ego and his pride will make him force it and that will be the thing that unravels him. If you look at me and think that I’m fragile or easy, you probably haven’t watched all my fights because I can stand there for two minutes and two or three shots get through from like 100 maybe?
“I’ve got a very good defense inside and outside the pocket. I think I am enigma, a Rubik’s cube tied up in a puzzle and a riddle after it. You can’t prepare for what I bring into the ring, you can’t plan for it because no-one sees life like I do, let alone a boxing ring. No-one sees the work I’ve put in, the years of graft. I could sit here and name fighters in your stable weights above me that I have had in my gym, fresh when I’ve six rounds work and I’ve stood them on their head. I’m not going to, but I could, World champions, European champions, British champions, Featherweights, Super-Featherweights – and they couldn’t argue. I’m comfortable in the boxing ring, it’s the only thing I know.
“It’s going to be a good fight, a great event, people are going to show out and I am just excited to be a part of it and 100 per cent confident of the win.”