UNCASVILLE, Connecticut – Rolando Romero’s options Friday afternoon were to fight an absurdly overweight Justin Pauldo, standby opponent Avery Sparrow or not box at all Saturday night.
Romero and his team initially opted to stick with Pauldo as his opponent, even though Pauldo was nearly five pounds too heavy for what was supposed to be a 12-round, 135-pound fight for Romero’s WBA interim lightweight title. The contract weight was moved up to 140 pounds to accommodate Pauldo, who would’ve paid a small sum from his purse to Romero for not meeting his contractual obligation.
Mike Mazzulli, director for the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation, informed BoxingScene.com that he ultimately removed Pauldo from the bout because Pauldo failed his pre-fight physical after he couldn’t make weight a second time Friday afternoon. Mazzulli will also require Pauldo to move up to the 140-pound limit for his next fight, so that the 26-year-old Houston resident can make weight safely.
Sparrow replaced Pauldo (14-1, 7 KOs, 1 NC) on barely 30 hours’ notice and will box Romero (12-0, 10 KOs) in a 12-round non-title fight that’ll open Showtime’s tripleheader from Mohegan Sun Arena (9 p.m. EST; 6 p.m. PST).
Philadelphia’s Sparrow (10-2, 3 KOs, 1 NC) weighed in at 136 pounds Friday morning. He was contracted to replace Pauldo or Romero in case anything prevented either fighter from competing Saturday night, but Sparrow didn’t have an opponent otherwise and would not be on the schedule to fight Saturday night if he hadn’t replaced Pauldo.
Sparrow lost his last bout by 10-round unanimous decision to Abraham Nova (19-0, 14 KOs) on June 25 at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas. He is considered a skillful boxer, however, whose style could present problems for the hard-hitting Romero.
“The fight with Sparrow, it’s all good,” Cromwell “Bullet” Gordon, Romero’s trainer, told BoxingScene.com once the matter was resolved. “He’s a boxer and he’s a mover, but listen, we’re in shape and we’re ready to go.”
Pauldo initially weighed in at 138.6 pounds Friday morning. He returned to the scale exactly one pound heavier, 139.6 pounds, on his second attempt slightly more than an hour later.
The 25-year-old Romero made weight on his first attempt, when he stepped on the scale at 134.2 pounds. Las Vegas’ Romero, who is promoted by Floyd Mayweather, will fight for the first time Saturday night since his controversial, 12-round, unanimous-decision victory over Dominican contender Jackson Marinez (19-1, 7 KOs) on August 15 at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Showtime’s telecast also will include two 12-round title fights following Romero-Sparrow.
In the co-feature, Ra’esse Aleem (17-0, 11 KOs), of Muskegon, Michigan, and Vic Pasillas (16-0, 9 KOs), of Redwood City, California, will fight for the WBA interim super bantamweight title. In the main event, Albuquerque’s Angelo Leo (20-0, 9 KOs) will make the first defense of his WBO junior featherweight title against Philadelphia’s Stephen Fulton (18-0, 8 KOs), Leo’s mandatory challenger.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.