SAN ANTONIO – Errol Spence Jr. has targeted Rolando Romero as the next opponent for Frank Martin. (photo by Ryan Hafey)
Spence, whose company promotes Martin, mentioned Romero during a post-fight press conference Saturday night after Martin (16-0, 12 KOs) stopped Jackson Marinez in the 10th round at Alamodome. Martin dropped Marinez twice – once late in the ninth round and again early in the 10th round – before referee Rafael Ramos stopped their junior welterweight fight 30 seconds into the 10th and final round.
Romero infamously beat Marinez (19-3, 7 KOs) by unanimous decision in August 2020, despite that the then-undefeated Dominican contender seemingly did more than enough to defeat Romero on the scorecards in their 12-round lightweight title fight.
“He stopped [Marinez] like he supposed to do, in impressive fashion and done something Rolly didn’t do,” Spence said when asked about Martin’s performance. “And I don’t think that’s even a logical question to ask him – is he ready for Rolly? Because I don’t think you can name an opponent Rolly beat. So, you know, I mean, he only fought Tank [Gervonta Davis].
“So, I definitely think he’s ready for Rolly. He’ll definitely beat Rolly. He’s just a better fighter than Rolly overall. You know, that’s a fight I think can definitely happen, especially with Rolly coming off a loss and, you know, he need the fight to get back in the mix. So, why not fight Frank Martin?”
Baltimore’s Davis (27-0, 25 KOs) knocked out Romero in the sixth round of their grudge match May 28 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Facing Romero (14-1, 12 KOs) would afford Martin the highest-profile fight of his career, but Derrick James, who trains Martin and Spence, indicated earlier in the press conference that it could become difficult to entice top lightweights to fight the smart, sharp southpaw from Indianapolis.
“I think that everything is in time,” James said. “I think that they are at a space where they may not feel like they have to [fight Martin]. It may be high-risk, not as much reward. But I think that he has to just keep pedaling away and just keep pushing himself, keep developing more. And then like within, like I said, like next year, in a year or so, he’ll be right up there with those guys, where they won’t be able to refuse it.
So, right now, you have the right of refusal. But if he just keep pushing, just keep fighting, keep getting better and better and better, and really kinda developing more and more and more, giving himself more depth, then they won’t have anywhere to go. And by the time they won’t have nowhere to go, he’ll be even more complete.”
James believes the 27-year-old Martin can compete with any lightweight in boxing. He still wouldn’t mind his fighter taking more time to develop before he faces the most imposing opponents in the 135-pound division.
“I think that he can do that,” James said. “But I think at the same time, time is our friend. You know what I mean? I mean, it’s easy to not acknowledge him because it’s OK. Because it’s only helping him, because he’s just getting better and better and better. So, when the time is when they say, ‘OK, now we’ll have the fight,’ he’s more difficult. Because he’s difficult now, but we’re in the gym all the time. It just helps him get better and better and better, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.