Miguel Berchelt and Miguel "Mickey" Roman promised to deliver a Fight of the Year contender. The all-Mexican showdown delivered.
Berchelt defended his WBC super featherweight title for the fourth time, scoring a ninth-round TKO against Roman in front of 5,420 fans at the Don Haskins Center on Saturday evening.
"This was the toughest of my four world title defenses," Berchelt said. "I give my respect to Mickey as an opponent. The key was my body work. He kept getting up and fighting with all of his heart. He's a valiant Mexican warrior."
It was a phone booth battle for the first five rounds, and in the sixth, Berchelt knocked down Roman twice. The first knockdown was a crisp right hand that nearly had Roman out for the count. But he got up, and Berchelt applied more pressure, knocking down Roman again as the round ended.
Roman (60-13, 47 KOs) somehow survived, but Berchelt continued to pour it on until referee Jon Schorle called it off with two seconds remaining in the ninth round.
Said Roman: "I feel fine. I gave it 100 percent. I'll be back."
Lightweight: Saul Rodriguez (22-0-1, 16 KOs), TKO 2, 1:57, Claudio Tapia (28-19-4, 13 KOs).
Rodriguez said: "I was anxious and excited to get back in there after such a long time out of the ring. It was a long time coming, but I did what I had to do and got the job done."
Welterweight: Nicklaus Flaz (6-1, 4 KOs), unanimous decision, 8 rounds, Sagadat Rakhmankul (3-1, 1 KO). Scores: 78-73, 77-73, 76-75.
Super Middleweight: Janibek Alimkhanuly (4-0, 1 KO), split decision, 8 rounds, Vaughn Alexander (12-2, 8 KOs). Scores: 79-73 Alimkhanuly, 77-75 Alexander, 78-74 Alimkhanuly.
Middleweight: Zach Prieto (4-0, 3 KOs), KO 1, :45, Michael Andrews (1-3, 0 KOs).
* Right hand knocked Andrews down for the count