UNCASVILLE, Connecticut – Rolando Romero doesn’t understand all the criticism he has received since his controversial win against Jackson Marinez.
The confident lightweight thinks his aggression and more effective punches proved to be the difference during their 12-round, 135-pound title fight August 15. Romero was willing to give Marinez the immediate rematch that the WBA ordered, but the Las Vegas native isn’t about to apologize for his unanimous-decision victory five months ago at Mohegan Sun Arena.
The 25-year-old Romero (12-0, 10 KOs) also was extremely critical of Marinez’s performance during an interview with BoxingScene.com.
“He fought like a p-ssy,” said Romero, who will square off against Avery Sparrow on Saturday night. “He didn’t try to win. He didn’t fight like a man. He didn’t bite down on his mouthpiece and fight like he wanted a belt. There’s not one moment in the fight that I didn’t try to win. And I think everyone can see that.”
There was nowhere near a consensus on how Romero feels their fight unfolded. Many fans and reporters questioned Romero’s win, despite that judges Glenn Feldman (116-112), Frank Lombardi (118-110) and Don Trella (115-113) each scored their fight for the WBA interim lightweight champion.
Five months later, Romero, who is promoted by Floyd Mayweather, is still surprised by the backlash from the Marinez match. Romero recalled being confused by what he was hearing from Showtime’s broadcast team during their bout, because he was certain he was winning.
“Well, between the commentary of everybody attacking me, bashing me – inside that bubble, you can hear everything,” Romero said. “You can hear everything they say. You can hear everything. When I came to my corner and I asked my trainer, ‘Am I losing this fight?’ Because I kept hearing them throughout that I’m losing the fight. And I’m like, ‘How am I losing the fight, if I’m winning, if I keep hurting him?’ Like there was rounds where he would walk into his corner wobbling.”
According to CompuBox’s unofficial punch stats, the Dominican Republic’s Marinez (19-1, 7 KOs) landed 17 more punches overall than Romero (103-of-629 to 86-of-509). CompuBox credited Marinez for connecting on more power punches (72-of-401 to 61-of-251) and jabs (31-of-228 to 25-of-258).
“CompuBox, punch counts, all that sh-t doesn’t matter,” Romero said. “What matters in pro boxing is landing a hard punch and hurting your opponent. You can win an entire round and you get hurt once, you lose that round. That’s pro boxing. This ain’t that amateur sh-t. That’s why that amateur sh-t is all broken. That’s why they don’t know who wins and who doesn’t win. That’s why they chose whoever they want to win. It’s the same situation here.
“That CompuBox sh-t and all that stuff, it doesn’t matter. In pro boxing, jabs don’t win. Power punching wins. Now, if it’s two guys jabbing, that’s one thing. But if one is bombing somebody with power punches and the other one is only jabbing, well, the power puncher wins because a power punch is worth more than a jab. Or am I mistaken? Because if I’m mistaken, then I got a complete distorted reality of what this sport is supposed to be. This sport is about hurting your opponent, and I think I did that.”
Philadelphia’s Sparrow (10-2, 3 KOs, 1 NC) replaced Houston’s Justin Pauldo (14-1, 7 KOs, 1 NC) as Romero’s opponent Friday afternoon. Pauldo came in nearly five pounds overweight and eventually was removed from the bout because he failed a pre-fight physical.
Romero-Sparrow, a 12-round, non-title fight, will open Showtime’s three-bout broadcast, which is set to begin at 9 p.m. EST and 6 p.m. PST from Mohegan Sun Arena.
Immediately following Romero-Sparrow, super bantamweight contenders 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 122-pound crown in another 12-rounder. The main event will feature Albuquerque’s Angelo Leo (20-0, 9 KOs) and Philadelphia’s Stephen Fulton (18-0, 8 KOs) in a 12-round fight for Leo’s WBO junior featherweight title.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.