While Flores is ineligible to win the WBA title after missing weight on Friday, the Mexican contender still plans on proving himself against the 122-pound champion Saturday night on Showtime.
This business trip has been appreciably easier for Danny Roman than the last two he took.
Each of his previous two fights required Roman to leave roughly two weeks in advance and take 11½-hour flights from Los Angeles to Japan. He won both bouts, first by stopping heavily favored Shun Kubo to win the WBA super bantamweight championship, then by out-pointing Ryo Matsumoto in his first title defense.
After all that traveling, Roman couldn’t be happier to return to American soil Saturday night. The 28-year-old Roman is scheduled to meet mandatory challenger Moises Flores in a 12-round, 122-pound title fight on Showtime (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) as part of the Errol Spence Jr.-Carlos Ocampo undercard from Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas. However, Flores failed to make weight on Friday— coming in at 123 pounds—meaning he is ineligible to win the WBA title now.
The Inglewood, California, native hasn’t fought in the United States since stopping previously undefeated Adam Lopez after nine rounds in January 2017 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
“I’m just happy to be back home after like a year-and-a-half,” Roman said. “I’m happy being back home and my family will be able to see me. I’m just excited and I’ll give the fans a great fight.”
This isn’t a position even Roman’s promoters at Thompson Boxing envisioned him occupying in the beginning of his career. Thompson Boxing released Roman from his promotional contract once he lost his fourth professional fight by split decision to Takashi Okada in July 2011.
Thompson Boxing eventually re-signed him and Roman rewarded his handlers by beating Kubo by ninth-round technical knockout to win a world title September 3 in Kyoto, Japan.
In Flores, Roman (24-2-1, 9 KOs) will face a former WBA 122-pound champion who’ll end almost exactly a one-year layoff. Mexico’s Flores (25-0, 17 KOs, 2 NC) hasn’t fought since his controversial no-contest against Guillermo Rigondeaux last June 17 in Las Vegas.
Roman has fought twice since Flores last boxed, but he doesn’t consider his activity to be too great of an advantage.
“The layoff could affect him, but I don’t wanna go in there with that mentality,” Roman said. “That’s not professional, because a fight’s a fight. He’s gonna come at me with everything he’s got. I look at it like I’m fighting another champion. I don’t take nobody lightly. I take everybody the same. A punch is a punch and a fight’s a fight.”
“ My strategy is to go forward and throw punches for 12 rounds, three minutes of every round. I need the world to know who ‘Chucky’ Flores is. ” 122-pound contender Moises "Chucky" Flores
Flores, 31, is anxious to forget about that aggravating night against Rigondeaux.
Rigondeaux clearly hit Flores with a left hand after the bell to end the first round and Flores said he couldn’t continue. Referee Vic Drakulich initially ruled it a first-round knockout victory for Rigondeaux, but the Nevada State Athletic Commission later changed the result to a no-contest due to the Cuban southpaw’s obvious foul.
Mexico’s Flores also threw at least one punch after the bell sounded and was criticized by members of Rigondeaux’s team, media and fans for exaggerating how hurt he was from Rigondeaux’s left hand. Flores fell flat on his back after Rigondeaux hit him late and remained on the canvas for several minutes.
“I believe he got hit after the bell and he went down,” Roman said. “It was controversial. It was going good in the first round. Then that happened. I don’t know if he actually got hurt or if he was faking it.
“He got hit after the bell. I don’t know what to really tell you because it could probably be true—he got hit, he gave up and he used that as an excuse. We don’t really know.”
The WBA ordered an immediate rematch, but Rigondeaux instead moved up two weight classes to challenge Vasily Lomachenko on December 9 in New York.
A frustrated Flores has been bothered by claims that he faked how hurt he was that night. He doesn’t want cynics to think that he quit and took the easy way out by trying to get Rigondeaux disqualified.
“It bothers me a lot,” Flores said, “but every time I read a comment or hear this or that, it just motivates me.”
Flores is determined to redeem himself against Roman, who has won 16 straight fights. The 5-feet-9 challenger owns a four-inch reach advantage over the defending champion and plans to wear down Roman by relentlessly pressuring him.
“My strategy is to go forward and throw punches for 12 rounds, three minutes of every round,” Flores said. “I need the world to know who ‘Chucky’ Flores is.”
Roman feels the same way about boxing on a bigger stage than usual Saturday night.
“I’m excited,” Roman said. “I’m ready to show my fans here in the States that I’ve got what it takes, that I’ve got what it takes to be a champion and I’ve got what it takes to defend my belt.”
For a closer look at Roman vs Flores, check out our fight page.