Cuadras vs Rodriguez Fight Night - Photos by Melina Pizano/Matchroom - 02/05/22
Normally during the week I make some photos that stand more than my other photos. This week they all felt the same to me. Then fight night arrived. As Khalil Coe was getting ready I captured a few of him as he looked at himself in the mirror. He turned around walked right up to the camera and gave me a war-ready face. That night he delivered a second-round stoppage over opponent, Dylan O'Sullivan.
As the night went on I continued to wait on the photo(s) that really stood out. Maybe I already had it, but I wanted something more. I came out from backstage to photograph the main event, Carlos Cuadras versus Jesse "Bam" Rodriguez. Rodriguez moved up two weight classes and took the fight on less than a week notice (after Cuadras' original opponent fell ill.) All for the WBC World Super Flyweight title. An up-and-coming prospect with a record of 14-0, Rodriguez was up against Carlos Cuadras, a seasoned veteran who was 39-4-1. In third round, Rodriguez dropped Cuadras. At the end of 12 rounds the scores were read, a new champion was declared, "and still undefeated... Jesse "Bam" Rodriguez!" Emotions flooded. Rodriguez broke down crying in front of cameras. He hugged his trainer, Robert Garcia. With his belt wrapped around his shoulder he jumped on the ropes and flexed for a crowd that cheered him on. What some thought he may not have been able to pull off, he did it. He embraced his father, (also named) Jesse Rodriguez, in the ring as Robert Garcia watched on. Such a proud moment for the whole Rodriguez team. When Rodriguez got back to his dressing room he called his family that was unable to make it to his bout. He sat on the couch with his new championship belt on his side taking everything in.
The next week I looked over my photos from that night and found what I was looking for. Something that stood out. Emotion, feeling. From the exhaustion while in the corner between rounds, the intensity from the crowd ringside, to Rodriguez's pure elation after his extraordinary win. Jesse "Bam" Rodriguez went from prospect to world champion over night. Truly something special to not only witness and photograph. It's these type of emotional moments that stand out after victories, like Jesse's. It's a privilege and honor that I'm grateful for.
Photos taken on Saturday, February 5, 2022
at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
Jamie Mitchell versus Carly Skelly
Carlos Cuadras versus Jesse Rodriguez
Eddie Hearn, Chairman of Matchroom Sport
Jesse Rodriguez defeats Carlos Cuadras by unanimous decision
to become the new WBC World Super Flyweight champion.
Jesse Rodriguez, with his father, Jesse. Jesse Rodriguez post-win in the locker room calling his family.
Jesse Rodriguez and team
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