Anyone expecting a different fight than any other provided by Daniel Roman will be among the few in the room to be left disappointed.
Everyone else can expect yet another Fight of the Year entrant.
The former unified junior featherweight titlist braces for a scheduled 12-round showdown versus former bantamweight king Juan Carlos Payano (21-3, 9KOs). The bout comes part of a six-fight Showtime Pay-Per-View event, topped by Jermall and Jermell Charlo in separate title fights live from Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut (Saturday, PPV, 7:00 p.m. ET, $74.95).
For Roman (27-3-1, 10KOs), it’s his first fight since his heartbreaking split decision defeat to Murodjon Akhmadaliev (8-0, 6KOs) this past January, in one of the very best fights of 2020. It’s the latest in a long list of all-action wars featuring the Los Angeles native, whom quite simply doesn’t have it in him to fight any other way.
“That’s my style,” Roman insisted during Wednesday’s pre-fight press conference ahead of Saturday’s title eliminator. “They get the best of me, and I try to make my fight the fight of the night.”
Roman has obviously learned some tricks along the way, but has generally fought with the same intensity and passion throughout his 10-year pro career. His desire to go all gas, no brakes helped contribute to an 8-2-1 career start as much as it ignited a 19-fight win streak which included a 9th round knockout of unbeaten Shun Kubo to win his first title on the road in Kyoto, Japan.
Four defenses followed, including another win over a previously unbeaten titlist. Roman edged out TJ Doheny via majority decision to unify two titles in their April 2019 thriller, his last win on the title stage before the aforementioned defeat to Akhmadaliev. The win over Doheny was among the best fights of 2019, with his 12-round war with Akhmadaliev surely to be remembered once 2020 Awards season rolls around by year’s end.
Payano—a 36-year old southpaw from Miami by way of La Vega, Dominican Republic—fully intends to stand his ground and engage in a shootout with Roman. It’s a strategy that is more than welcomed by the former 122-pound king who not only aims to reclaim past glory, but also do so at the expense of everyone else on Saturday’s show.
“I know I’m among champions and great fighters, quality fighters,” acknowledges Roman. “Like always, I’m going to try to steal the show and do what’s possible for me to win.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox