UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Rising lightweight Rolando “Rolly” Romero (12-0, 10 KOs) scored a controversial unanimous decision over previously fellow unbeaten Jackson Maríñez (19-1, 7 KOs) to capture the interim WBA Lightweight Title. The scores were 115-113, 116-112 and 118-110, all in favor of Romero.
The story of the fight was Maríñez’s reliable jabs as the Dominican fighter won the battle in that department (14 percent compared to Romero’s 10 percent). It was Romero, however, who held the advantage on power punches connecting on 24 percent (31 of 228) compared to 18 percent for Maríñez (72 of 401).
Romero suffered a slight cut above his left eye in the ninth round on a head butt, but it didn’t seem to affect his performance in the championship rounds. “He came out a little bit tougher and slicker than what I thought,” Romero said. “But all he did was move around the entire fight. He didn’t even try to engage. It’s hard to knock out someone who doesn’t try to engage. I hurt him multiple times with body shots and a few hooks. There was one moment I hurt him with a right hand and he pulled my head down. It was just hard to finish him off.
The 29-year-old Maríñez, who holds the WBA’s No. 6 ranking, is trained by Robert Garcia, who was not present in the Maríñez’s corner electing not to travel cross country from his Southern California home.