FRISCO, Texas — Win or lose, junior featherweight world titlist Danny Roman could not lose his belt because Moises “Chucky” Flores failed to make weight and was stripped of his interim title at Friday’s weigh-in.
But the fight went on anyway after the camps made a deal for Flores to pay Roman an undisclosed amount from his purse, and Roman dominated him en route to a lopsided unanimous decision on Saturday night at Ford Center at The Star, the training facility of the Dallas Cowboys.
Roman won 120-108, 118-110 and 116-110 on the judges’ scorecards. ESPN.com also scored it for Roman by a shutout score of 120-108 on the Errol Spence Jr.-Carlos Ocampo undercard.
Roman (25-2-1, 9 KOs), 28, of Los Angeles, directed much of his energy toward working the taller Flores’ body, and while Flores landed punches, they did not see to have much steam on them.
Round after round, Roman targeted Flores’ midsection, but he also went upstairs and was able to knock the unsteady Flores off-balance. Although Roman appeared to be winning handily, he continued to engage with Flores, so he took a few right hands but also ducked out of the way of many of them and came back with body shots.
“I went for the body because we knew he was so drained from cutting weight,” Roman said.
According to CompuBox punch statistics, Roman landed 349 of 1,004 punches (35 percent), and Flores connected with 225 of 1,023 punches (22 percent). Of Roman’s 349 total connects, 175 (50.1 percent) were to the body.
“I was trying to box him,” Roman said. “I tried to fight a smart fight. I tried to take him out, but unfortunately we couldn’t.”
From the opening bell, Flores (25-1, 17 KOs), 31, of Mexico, never seemed to have his legs steady under him, perhaps from draining himself in an effort to make weight. He threw a lot of punches, but they were often wild.
Roman stunned Flores late in the 10th round when he connected with a combination that drove him back, and then he followed up with a right hand, but the bell rang before he could land anything more.
While Roman was 121.75 pounds for his second 122-pound title defense, Flores was 123.5 on his first try. After using all of the allotted two hours, he could get down to only 123 pounds, making him ineligible to win the title. He paid an undisclosed amount of money from his $30,000 purse to Roman, whose purse is $50,000.
“I was a little disappointed [Flores did not make weight] because we were disciplined and made weight,” Roman said. “It’s a title fight.”
With Flores out of the way, Roman wants to fight another of the world titleholders.
“I would like to unify. I would like to challenge any of the champions,” he said. “I want to challenge the other champions next. I’d love to face Rey Vargas or Isaac Dogboe. I don’t mind going back to Japan [where I won the title] either.”
Flores said he hurt his shoulder early on and also said he felt bad for not making weight.
“I think my shoulder was dislocated in the second round. That’s why I turned lefty. But I didn’t want to even tell my team and my coach because they get worried. I just had to tough it out,” Flores said. “[Roman] put on a great show for the fans, and that’s what makes me feel great. That’s all I wanted was to put on a good fight. I know I messed up in training. I didn’t make the weight, but I still wanted to perform and give it everything I have.”
Granados vs. Fortuna a no-decision
Junior welterweights Adrian Granados and Javier Fortuna put on an exciting fight for three-plus rounds, but when Fortuna suffered an apparent head or neck injury in the fourth round when he nearly fell out of the ring, the fight was stopped and ruled a no-decision because it had not gone four complete rounds.
“First and foremost, I just want to pray that he’s OK. I didn’t push him,” Granados said. “I think he was looking for an excuse on his way out. We were both battling, but I knew he could feel I was getting stronger. He caught me with a shot, and it just turned me up. Let’s do the rematch.”
They were aggressive from the opening bell, as expected, and each landed his share of right hands. There was consistent action, including during a fiery exchange that closed the third round and saw both fighters get nailed.
In the fourth round, Fortuna brought the crowd to life when he forced Granados, who was moving down to his more natural weight class after two losses in a row at welterweight to former titleholders Shawn Porter and Adrien Broner, back with a clean right hand. Later in the round, referee Robert Chapa docked two points from Fortuna for hitting behind the head and for holding.
Moments later, when the Dominican Republic’s Fortuna (33-2-1, 23 KOs), 28, was against the ropes as Granados (18-6-2, 12 KOs), 28, of Chicago, bore in on him, he slipped between the ropes and nearly fell all the way out of the ring.
Fortuna appeared to hyperextend his neck or hit his head as he was falling between the ropes. He was unable to continue, and Chapa called the fight off at 2 minutes, 15 seconds. Fortuna, a former junior lightweight titlist moving up from lightweight, was placed in a neck brace and taken out of the arena on a stretcher.
“From my vantage point, both fighters were pushing and holding each other. The other gentleman was on the ropes. He was coming down, and momentum from him [falling] took him over,” Chapa said. “I didn’t see him hit his head, but I could tell it did. I didn’t think it was good. When I saw the stretcher coming, I knew he was going to be taken out.”
Ugas blows out Batista
Welterweight contender Yordenis Ugas scored four knockdowns and stopped overmatched Jonathan Batista in the second round in a stay-busy fight.
Ugas (22-3, 11 KOs), 31, a Cuba native fighting out of Miami, Florida, won his seventh fight in a row since moving up from junior welterweight, a stretch that has included quality wins against opponents such as Jamal James, Thomas Dulorme and Ray Robinson. He is staying busy and believes he is ready for a shot at one of the 147-pound world titles.
“I wanted to be active, and my goal is to fight Spence. I want to fight Errol Spence,” Ugas told ESPN through a translator. “I’m ready. I won two world titles in the amateurs. I want one as a professional. I can compete against anybody. I will fight strong against anybody. I’ve been ready.”
He beat Batista with ease, knocking him down twice in the first round and twice more in the second to send him to the eighth knockout loss of his career.
Ugas used his right hand to drop him in the first and then a combination for the second knockdown. Batista (17-14, 10 KOs), 33, of the Dominican Republic, made it out of the round but was quickly down again in the second round from another right hand to the head. When Ugas dropped him in a corner with another clean combination, referee Neal Young waved it off at 1 minute, 16 seconds.
Blue chip welterweight prospect Eminantas Stanionis (6-0, 5 KOs), 23, a 2016 Lithuanian Olympian fighting out of Oxnard, California, battered Erick Martinez (14-13-1, 8 KOs), 27, of Mexico, in a third-round knockout victory, sending Martinez to his fifth loss in a row.
Stanionis took control right away. He was extremely aggressive and pounded Martinez with left uppercuts and right hands with abandon throughout the fight. When he caught him with yet another uppercut in the third round, Martinez went down to a knee, and referee Young waved it off at 1 minute, 56 seconds.
Featherweight prospect Stephen Fulton (13-0, 6 KOs), 23, of Philadelphia, grinded out a tough ninth-round knockout of Jesus Ahumada (14-2, 9 KOs), 22, of Mexico. Fulton appeared to open a big lead, but the very aggressive Ahumada came back strong in the second half of the fight until Fulton blasted him with several clean punches in the ninth round. He was out on his feet, and when he sagged into the ropes, referee Young stopped the fight at 1 minute, 54 seconds.
In an all-Texas lightweight fight, Alejandro “Pork Chop” Guerrero (9-0, 7 KOs), 20, of Irving, stopped David Fabela (2-1, 2 KOs), of Fort Worth, in the third round. He dropped Fabela at the end of the first round and again at the end of the second before referee Rosario Solis stopped the fight 10 seconds into the third round.
Dallas junior featherweight Fernando Garcia (9-0, 3 KOs), 30, blitzed Angel Carvajal (2-10, 0 KOs), 34, of Chicago. He dropped him once and pummeled him in a corner until referee Solis stopped it at 2 minutes, 18 seconds.
Cruiserweight Adrian Taylor (7-0, 3 KOs), 27, of Mesquite, Texas, cruised to a shutout decision over Chris Harris (2-4-2, 2 KOs), 28, of Kansas City, Kansas, in an uneventful cruiserweight bout. All three judges scored the fight 60-54.