Here are the most eye-catching stories from this week’s/weekend’s boxing news and ring action:
– In what turned out to be an all-around bad night for everyone involved, Rolando “Rolly” Romero was gifted a ninth round TKO over Ismael Barroso Saturday night via an absolutely horrid miscall by referee Tony Weeks. With the tainted victory, Romero took the vacant WBA super lightweight title atop a Showtime card held at The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Lacking the fireworks promised, Romero-Barroso was mostly a cautious affair between two fighters not generally known for their caution. Barroso would send Romero to the canvas in the third round and then proceed to sweep the next several rounds against a tentative Romero who couldn’t/wouldn’t find an opening for return fire.
In the ninth round, and behind on all three judges’ scorecards, Romero finally found an opening and sent the Venezuelan to the canvas with a punch-push combo. Shortly after that, the real mess started.
Backed into the ropes by Romero, but clear-headed, Barroso was rolling from shots and actually landed the only meaningful punch in the sequence when Weeks jumped in to stop the contest, something that sparked a “wha?” exclamation from the Showtime broadcast team.
Following the bout, Weeks and representatives from the Nevada State Athletic Commission refused an interview with Showtime’s Jim Gray.
The 40-year-old Barroso stepped in as a late replacement to battle for the vacant WBA title when champion Alberto Puello tested positive for a banned substance and was forced to withdraw from the fight.
Romero, despite being on the winning side of the debacle, has since stated his belief that the bout should not have been stopped when it was.
– On the Romero-Barroso undercard, Kenneth Sims Jr. took a twelve-round majority decision from Batyr Akhmedov in an entertaining and competitive super lightweight bout. Also on the undercard, Rances Barthelemy won a controversial ten-round majority decision over Omar Juarez.
– Also on Saturday, atop a Top Rank/ESPN card at Stockton Arena in Stockton, California, Janibek Alimkhanuly crushed an overmatched Steven Butler in two rounds to defend his WBO middleweight title. A legs-buckling uppercut from the Kazakh would initiate the three-knockdown sequence eventually leading to referee Jack Reiss waving off the contest in the second round.
After the bout, Alimkhanuly called out the division in his shaky, but improving, English.
“Hello everybody,” he said in the ring during his post-fight interview. “Champions and boxing superstars, where are you? I’m waiting, let’s fight. I am the most avoided boxer. I am the middleweight king. Let’s go. Fight. Top Rank, who is next? Canelo and Charlo, I’m coming.”
– Jake Paul and Nate Diaz kicked off the hype for their upcoming August 5 bout. The eight round boxing match between the YouTuber/Influencer/Novice boxer and the UFC star will take place at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas and be broadcast on DAZN PPV. On the undercard, Amanda Serrano faces Heather Hardy in a rematch of Serrano’s 2019 unanimous decision victory.
– Top junior middleweight contender Tim Tszyu will stay busy as he waits on unified junior middleweight champ Jermell Charlo to fully recover from the injury that postponed their proposed tite match. Tszyu, the son of Hall of Famer Kostya Tszyu, will face Mexico’s Carlos Ocampo on June 18 in Tszyu’s native Australia.
– Former two-division former world champ, Cuba’s Guillermo Rigondeaux will return to the ring on June 8 as part of the Adrien Broner-Bill Hutchinson pay-per-view undercard. The 42-year-old last fought in February of this year, stopping journeyman Jesus Martinez in one round. The two-time Olympic gold medalist had suffered back-to-back points losses prior to that, though.