UNCASVILLE, Connecticut – Avery Sparrow expressed frustration when referee Johnny Callas stopped his fight against Rolando Romero in the seventh round Saturday night.
Sparrow’s corner men requested the stoppage because of the injury to his right knee that Sparrow suffered during the previous round. The Philadelphia lightweight was way behind – 60-51 on all three scorecards – against a bigger puncher who was performing much better than in his previous appearance.
Las Vegas’ Romero (13-0, 11 KOs) thinks Sparrow should be thankful that their scheduled 12-rounder was stopped 43 seconds into the seventh round at Mohegan Sun Arena.
“His corner did the ring thing by stopping it,” Romero said during a post-fight press conference. “And then, that last moment, when they took away those last two points, he was hurt again and there was a lot of time left in the round for him to get hurt even more. So, he’s lucky that they stopped it at that moment.”
Sparrow surprisingly slugged with the harder-hitting Romero almost as soon as their fight started, despite that Sparrow’s boxing ability was considered his biggest advantage entering the first of three fights Showtime televised. Romero dropped Sparrow with a left hook just 40 seconds into their fight.
Once Sparrow got up, he started throwing hard right hands at his taller, rangier opponent to try to keep Romero off of him. While Sparrow wasn’t winning rounds, he showed toughness by battling Romero in the manner he did.
Romero didn’t view Sparrow’s performance the same way.
“He fought like a coward,” Romero said. “He just wanted a street fight because he knew he wasn’t gonna do anything to me. He was frustrated, and he couldn’t do anything to me. So, it just came down to a bunch of low blows, hits behind the head, trying to wrestle me, trying to take me down. He hit me in the back, hit me everywhere.”
Callas deducted two points from Sparrow for a low blow during the sixth round. Sparrow’s rare two-point penalty for that foul, in addition to the first-round knockdown, left him behind nine points on all three scorecards entering the seventh round.
Sparrow (10-3, 3 KOs, 1 NC) agreed to fight Romero on approximately 30 hours’ notice because Justin Pauldo, Romero’s original opponent, was removed from their 12-round bout for failing his pre-fight physical with the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation. Houston’s Pauldo (14-1, 7 KOs, 1 NC) also came in almost five pounds overweight for what was supposed to be a 12-round bout for Romero’s WBA interim 135-pound championship.
His victory over Sparrow in their non-title fight was a redemptive performance for Romero to some extent.
The 25-year-old puncher, who is promoted by Floyd Mayweather, won his previous bout by unanimous decision. That 12-round victory over Dominican contender Jackson Marinez (19-1, 7 KOs) on August 15 is considered controversial, however, and left fans and media questioning Romero’s potential.
“You guys say that you guys wanna see me box, so I boxed,” Romero said. “You know, I still stopped him. You know, and at the end of it, I made him quit. I made his corner make him quit. I made him quit. He fought like a coward. And I out-boxed him. I boxed good.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.