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Longtime coach Robert Garcia is not surprised by how ‘special’ Bam Rodriguez is

Jesse Rodriguez. Photo by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

by Francisco Salazar |

Coach Robert Garcia always knows what kind of fighter Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez is.

“He’s special,” Garcia said.

One of the best trainers in the sport is still glowing from Rodriguez’s knockout victory over Juan Francisco Estrada this past Saturday at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Rodriguez (20-0, 13 knockouts) won the Ring Magazine junior bantamweight title and the WBC world belt.

From the opening bell, Rodriguez was the more successful fighter, breaking down Estrada, hurting him multiple times and scoring a knockout in the fourth round. Despite being knocked down in the sixth round, Rodriguez landed a nasty punch to the body dropped Estrada to the count at the end of the seventh round.

Garcia, who has trained Rodriguez since he was 15, knew that Rodriguez would be successful and exceed the expectations of fight fans with the way the fight played out.

“It was a good fight,” Garcia told The Ring on Tuesday evening. “I was not surprised by the way Bam played because I know what he can do. I think you can do more. I said it since he was young and I was not wrong. This child is special.”

Rodriguez’s win was not seen in boxing competitions. Junior welterweight fighter Kenneth Sims shared on X (formerly known as Twitter) his thoughts on the win.

“OMG!! YOU ARE SPECIAL!! @210,” is what Sims posted. “24 Year Old Farmer Hall!!”

There was some post-fight scrutiny of the judges’ cards. Entering the seventh round, judge Steve Morrow had Rodriguez up 58-54, while Canadian judge Robert Tapper had the fight even 56-56.

Judge Javier Castillo made it 57-56 for Estrada. He beat Estrada in the first three rounds.

Garcia is happy that the fight ended early, avoiding any conflict, if the fight had reached a score.

“The scorecards surprised me, but I’m glad we didn’t have to go to the scorecards,” said Garcia, who owns the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy in Riverside, California.

Garcia confirmed that Rodriguez, who lives in San Antonio, Texas, will be in the spotlight for Sunday’s unification bout between WBA world champion Kazuto Ioka and IBF world champion Fernando Martinez. The 12-round fight will take place at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo, Japan.

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has handled boxing in Southern California and internationally since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. They can be reached at [email protected]


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