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Srisaket Sor Rungvisai ill, Carlos Cuadras vs Jesse Rodriguez set for February 5th

Rodriguez was scheduled for a flyweight 10-rounder on the undercard

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a top super flyweight has been forced out of a pivotal fight due to illness, prompting a standout from a lower weight class to take his place.

Matchroom revealed today that Srisaket Sor Rungvisai came down with a “non-COVID related illness” over the weekend, leaving him unable to rematch Carlos Cuadras for the vacant WBC title this coming weekend. In steps recently signed prospect Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez, who was slated to face Fernando Diaz in a flyweight bout on the same show.

The 22-year-old Rodriguez (14-0, 10 KO) missed out on a shot at the WBA “world” light flyweight belt last October when the sanctioning body pulled champion Esteban Bermudez from the fight, citing a pre-existing order to face “super” champ Hiroto Kyoguchi. He instead stopped Jose Alejandro Burgos in four for his sixth consecutive finish.

“I’m very thankful for the opportunity to be fighting for the WBC World title,” said Rodriguez. “It’s always been a dream of mine to become World champion and that dream will become reality this weekend. I want to thank RGBA, Teiken, and Matchroom, without them this wouldn’t be possible. On Saturday night, San Antonio will have another World champion!”

Bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for him.

He’s clearly a terrific young talent, but Cuadras (39-4-1, 27 KO) is miles above anyone he’s faced so far. Despite his struggles in and out of the ring, “Principe” turned in a vintage performance against Juan Francisco Estrada last time out, dropping “El Gallo” in the third and holding his own before finally going down in the 11th.

“I heard Rungvisai got sick, we arrived with my team last night to Phoenix, I hope he is stable and without complications,” said Cuadras. “For my part, I’m ready and grateful with Teiken, Matchroom and the WBC for the opportunity to fight Jesse, who is a good fighter.”

The question now is how the WBC’s going to salvage their mini-tournament after all the effort that went into making it.