As Jimmy Lennon Jr. announced the scores Saturday night, Rolando Romero was confident he had won his fight against Jackson Marinez.
Romero’s longtime trainer, Cromwell Gordon, and his father/assistant trainer, Rolando Romero Sr., had assured the unbeaten lightweight he had done enough to overcome Marinez in their 12-round, 135-pound title fight at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Judges Glenn Feldman (116-112), Frank Lombardi (118-110) and Don Trella (115-113) agreed with them, which resulted in Romero’s controversial victory over Marinez.
Romero, the new WBA interim lightweight champion, disagreed afterward with those that claimed Marinez “was robbed.”
“We all have bad performances, but I don’t think I did a bad performance,” said Romero, who won a unanimous decision. “You guys all say I did a bad performance – I don’t think I did a bad performance. I think I won. I think I won the fight no problem. I pressed the entire fight. I attacked the entire fight. I landed the harder shots. I hurt him to the body. I hurt him on top. So, I mean, it’s hard to knock out somebody that doesn’t wanna attack, doesn’t wanna do anything.”
The 24-year-old Romero (12-0, 10 KOs), who is promoted by Floyd Mayweather’s company, unofficially landed 17 fewer punches than the Dominican Republic’s Marinez (19-1, 7 KOs).
According to CompuBox, Marinez connected on 103-of-629 overall punches, whereas Romero landed 86-of-509. CompuBox credited Marinez for landing more power punches (72-of-401 to 61-of-251) and jabs (31-of-228 to 25-of-258).
Nevertheless, Lombardi somehow scored 10 of the 12 rounds for Romero, who won eight rounds on Feldman’s card and seven rounds according to Trella. Those scores sounded about right to Romero, a brash knockout artist who had predicted he’d viciously stop Marinez early in their fight.
“All he did was land jabs,” Romero said. “That’s all he landed, and you can’t win a fight simply by landing jabs. He didn’t land no power punches. I landed all the harder, the better shots, and I hurt him. He couldn’t do anything to me.”
The rugged Romero admitted Marinez was craftier than he expected, but he wasn’t impressed by his 29-year-old opponent. Marinez made Romero miss with most of his hardest punches and took the heavy-handed Romero’s power well when he did land flush shots.
“He was a little bit more slick than I thought,” Romero said. “You know, he was very defensive and, you know, he didn’t really wanna engage. And it’s hard to knock out somebody that doesn’t wanna engage at all. So, it is what it is. I thought I won the fight. Regardless of everything, I’m the world champ now.”
Las Vegas’ Romero became one of four WBA champions within the lightweight division.
Ukraine’s Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) owns the WBA’s “super” lightweight championship. Baltimore’s Gervonta Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) holds the WBA’s “world” lightweight title.
France’s Yvan Mendy (44-5-1, 22 KOs, 1 NC) is the WBA’s gold 135-pound champion as well.
Romero said he would grant Marinez a rematch. He is not contractually obligated to fight Marinez again, however, and Romero’s handlers might avoid a second bout between them because of Marinez’s troublesome style.
“I took the victory,” Romero said. “I’m gonna move on, I’m gonna get better and better and better. I mean, I came into this sport 7½ years ago. I have  fights. I’ve never fought a 12-rounder. I’ve never fought a 10-rounder. And, I mean, I fought one eight-rounder that lasted two rounds. So, I mean, I’m just gonna move forward from it and get better and better. This is my first real camp to fight for 12 rounds. This is my first real camp actually stepping up, and I’m happy. Regardless of everything, I won my belt. I’m happy.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.