By Keith Idec
When you’re approaching 87 years old and have promoted thousands of boxing matches, it’s difficult to get too excited about many fights.
Bob Arum’s company doesn’t promote Miguel Berchelt or Miguel Roman, but their super featherweight title fight Saturday night is one of the exceptions. Arum and Top Rank president Todd duBoef jumped at the chance to buy the rights to stream Berchelt-Roman through ESPN+ because they believe these Mexican rivals will produce an all-action brawl when they square off at UTEP’s Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas.
“I guarantee – and I don’t usually talk that way – I guarantee that at the end of the year, that fight will be one of the candidates for ‘Fight of the Year,’ ” Arum told BoxingScene.com. “It’s a really terrific, terrific fight. Two guys are gonna go to war with each other. I’m flying down to El Paso [Wednesday night], and I can’t wait to watch that fight.”
Berchelt, 26, is bigger and younger than Roman (60-12, 47 KOs), who has lost by knockout or technical knockout twice. Just 10 months ago, though, Roman essentially ended Orlando Salido’s career when he stopped Mexico’s Salido in the ninth round of a fight in which Roman also was an underdog.
Roman, 32, hopes his third world title fight is the charm Saturday night. He is 0-2 in world championship matches, though neither of those fights were contested within the 130-pound division.
He lost a 12-round unanimous decision to Argentina’s Jonathan Barros in their 12-round fight for the WBA world featherweight title 7½ years ago in Junin, Argentina. His second title shot wasn’t as competitive, as Antonio DeMarco knocked out Roman in the fifth round of their WBC lightweight title bout in Los Mochis, Mexico, a year after Barros beat him.
Most Internet sports books list Berchelt (34-1, 30 KOs) as at least an 11-1 favorite over Roman.
“If I had to bet,” Arum said, “and not that I’m an expert with those guys, but from I’ve seen I’d bet on Berchelt.”
ESPN+ will stream the entire Berchelt-Roman undercard Saturday, beginning at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. ET. The co-featured fight – a 10-round featherweight match that’ll pit Colombia’s Miguel Marriaga (26-3, 22 KOs) against Mexico’s Jose Estrella (20-14-1, 14 KOs) – is scheduled to start shortly after 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing