Miguel Berchelt stops Miguel Roman in the Ninth Round in El Paso
By Hector Franco | Senior Writer and Editor
Published: November 04, 2018
EL PASO, TEXAS – In front of a raucous crowd of 5,240 at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas, fans witnessed one of the best fights of the year. Mexico’s Miguel Berchelt (35-1, 31 KOs) took on veteran of over 70 professional bouts Miguel Roman (60-13, 47 KOs) next to his hometown of Juarez, Mexico. The crowd was firmly in favor of Roman throughout the night in what turned out to be a memorable night of boxing.
Berchelt who is 26 years of age was looking to make the fourth title defense of his WBC super featherweight (130) championship he won from Francisco Vargas in early 2017. Since losing to Takashi Miura on the same card Berchelt defeated Vargas, Roman went on a four-bout knockout streak earning himself back into title contention as Berchelt’s number one contender for his WBC title.
There was plenty of trash talk between the two men before the match giving fans the feel of a familiar all Mexican battle between hall-of-famers Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales. Berchelt-Roman did not quite meet the level of action that the Barrera-Morales trilogy showcased. However, it made another excellent addition to the many great fights between Mexican pugilists.
Before the beginning of the first round, Berchelt refused to touch gloves with Roman showing fans in the arena that this fight would be personal for both men. The first round lived up to expectations with both men exchanging power punches. Berchelt has the ability to use lateral movement at times, and it gave him an advantage against Roman who would only throw punches when in range. Regardless, the 32-year old veteran was able to find his range in spots and in the second round landed a huge right hand that seemed to visibly hurt Berchelt. Unfortunately for Roman, he lost his mouthpiece during an exchange with Berchelt giving the champion extra recovery time. In the last minute of the second round, Berchelt began to mount a comeback landing punches in combination.
The third round may have been the most exciting round of the night with both men landing devastating punches. Berchelt began to impose himself on Roman in the third round as he increased his level of volume. Top Rank and ESPN commentator Timothy Bradley described the position that Roman was in as “no man's land.” This is when a fighter puts himself in a situation where his opponent can hit you, but you are unable to hit them back. In the last 30 seconds of the round, Berchelt had Roman stumbling around the ring giving the impression that the end was near.
As if called on by an internal force Roman came out in the fourth round and fifth rounds with a vengeance attacking Berchelt. Both men had their moments; however, the fifth round may have been Roman’s best round changing the momentum of the bout. The Juarez, Mexico native came out in the sixth round throwing overhand rights and left hooks, however, at the halfway point of the round Berchelt went to Roman’s body giving him the opportunity to set up more punches to the head. Berchelt landed a picture perfect right hand that put Roman on the canvas. Roman beat the referee’s ten count, but was immediately greeted with another combination from Berchelt that put him back on the floor. When the bell rang to end the round, it looked like it was only a matter of time until Berchelt put Roman away for good.
In the seventh round, Roman did something uncharacteristic to survive by fighting on the backfoot. Berchelt still dominated the round as he walked down Roman for the entirety of the round while punishing the veteran with punches to the body and head. Roman’s trainer Rudy Hernandez threatened to stop the fight if Roman did not show him something in the next round. Roman responded by coming out aggressively even attempting a four-punch combination with all left hooks while Berchelt was against the ropes. This was a better round for Roman; however, it was a mere illusion of success as in the last minute of the round Berchelt opened back up by going to Roman’s body leaving him visibly hurt.
The ninth-round saw the fight come to an end with Roman once again starting the first half of the round well by backing Berchelt up, but as soon as Berchelt went back down to Roman’s body followed with a combination up top, Roman was back on the canvas. Roman is one of those fighters that is almost too tough and needs to be saved from himself.
Roman rose from the knockdown and was put up against the ropes with Berchelt throwing another combination to the head forcing the referee to stop the bout. The ending was similar to the finish of the Oscar De La Hoya-Fernando Vargas match from 2002 where De La Hoya cornered Vargas throwing non-stop straight left and right combinations. The bout was stopped with two seconds left in the ninth round.
(Featured Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank)