Daniel Roman realizes he must be more active and aggressive Saturday night against Ricardo Espinoza than he was when he fought Juan Carlos Payano.
Roman’s reliance on one punch at a time was one of the factors that made their 12-rounder harder for the former IBF/WBA 122-pound champion than necessary. Los Angeles’ Roman still defeated the Dominican southpaw 116-112 on all three scorecards, but he underestimated the 37-year-old Payano (21-5, 9 KOs), and it cost him September 26 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
“I think he was a little better than I expected,” Roman told BoxingScene.com. “He was using a few techniques that I wasn’t expecting. Fighters like that, you learn a lot from them because they’ve been around the sport for so long. Styles make fights.”
More than anything, Roman (28-3-1, 16 KOs) learned he needs to let his hands go.
“I can’t just throw one punch at a time,” Roman said. “I’ve gotta set up my combinations.”
The 31-year-old Roman recognizes that he can’t be overly aggressive versus Espinoza, either, in their 10-round junior featherweight fight at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. The heavy-handed Mexican has won 11 of his past 13 bouts by knockout.
“Ricardo Espinoza, he’s a great Mexican fighter,” Roman said. “He has a high knockout ratio [75 percent]. He’s a pretty strong fighter. He comes forward and he comes to fight. I can’t let him dictate the fight. I’ve gotta dictate the fight myself, and I’ve gotta fight smart, too.”
Two fights ago, the 23-year-old Espinoza (25-3, 21 KOs) lost by 12th-round knockout to WBO bantamweight champ John Riel Casimero. The Philippines’ Casimero (30-4, 21 KOs) dropped Espinoza in the sixth round and stopped Espinoza while he was still on his feet in their April 2019 title fight at Dignity Health Sports Park.
“Casimero did all the right things,” Roman said. “He was staying away from the punches, trying to hit and not get hit by Espinoza. But it’s a fight. Anything can happen. A few punches are gonna land.”
Showtime will televise Roman-Espinoza as the co-feature before its main event, a 12-round, 122-pound title bout between Tijuana’s Luis Nery (31-0, 24 KOs) and Brandon Figueroa (21-0-1, 14 KOs), of Weslaco, Texas. They’ll fight for Nery’s WBC and Figueroa’s WBA world super bantamweight championships.
The network’s three-fight telecast is scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. ET with a 10-round junior lightweight bout that’ll pit Xavier Martinez (16-0, 11 KOs), of Sacramento, California, against Mexico’s Juan Carlos Burgos (34-4-2, 21 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.