In the first HBO co-main event preceding Vargas and Berchelt, Super Featherweight Takashi Miura (#1 WBC) earned a knockout victory over Miguel “Mickey” Roman (#2 WBC). Miura opened up a tight fight with knockdowns in the 10th and 11th rounds, and then finished the fight inside the first minute of the 12th round, earning a knockout victory over a more than game “Mickey” Roman.
This was a brutal, punishing affair that looked to be turning the way of Roman midway before Miura, showing massive heart, began throwing all 130 of his pounds into every punch during the later rounds.
Miura (30-3-2, 23 KO’s) surrendered his WBC title after four successful defenses to his fellow HBO co-headliner Francisco Vargas in November of 2015 (The Ring Magazine Fight of the Year), and had only fought once against the unknown Jimmy Borbon since the 9th round TKO loss to Vargas. Miura knocked Borbon out, but Roman was his first real test since fighting Vargas.
Roman’s record of 56-11 with 43 KO’s may have looked somewhat pedestrian on the card, but he had won his last 18, 15 by knockout. Roman had not lost a bout in over four years coming into the ring.
Round 1: Largely a feel out round with both fighters looking for an opportunity to press, but neither landing anything too significant.
Round 2: Miura throwing hard punches–multiple right hooks to the body. Roman’s pressure is bothering Miura. Roman closes with a flurry and may have hurt Miura with an uppercut just before the bell.
Round 3: Roman pressuring and landing well to the body. Miura definitely wants to keep distance. Miura’s right hook to the body is landing with regularity. Roman weathering well and continues to press the Japanese fighter. Roman breathing very hard going into the corner at round’s end.
Round 4: Roman doing excellent work to the body early. Miura lands a strong straight left that slows Roman momentarily. Big shots being landed by both guys. Defense is out the window. A big left by Miura before the bell catches Roman and clearly hurt him.
Round 5: Miura keeping distance early. Doing a good job of getting in and out. Roman may be slowing. Roman cuts the distance again and lands several nasty shots inside. Both guys will need ice packs for their ribs. Miura’s right eye really starting to swell. Roman closes very strong. Miura looks a little gassed as the 5th closes.
Round 6: Pattern starting to form. Miura does a good job in the first minute. Using his length to keep Roman back. Roman just keeps walking Miura down and starts turning the round to his favor. These rounds are brutal to watch and to score. Miura’s shots are flashier, but Roman’s shorter punches may be more effective. Roman hurts Miura again before the bell and Miura’s right eye is cut.
Round 7: Miura’s corner seems concerned. Asking him if he is alright and if he will be able to win. Again, Miura slinging big shots and Roman just stays there, undeterred. Big stiff left by Miura and Roman barely moves. Roman knocks Miura’s mouthpiece out. Miura needed the break. Roman just hammering away. Hard not to feel the fight is moving in Roman’s direction.
Round 8: Roman starts this round quickly. Working the body ruthlessly. An accidental head butt draws blood from Roman’s right eye, stopping the action momentarily. Miura starting to hold a lot. Miura’s punches may be losing steam. Flush blows no longer slowing Roman at all. Miura almost leaves his feet with a wild right hook that misses by a mile. He looks exhausted.
Round 9: Another accidental head butt opens round 9. Miura selling out. Screaming as he punches. Nearly coming out of his boots. Miura looking somewhat wobbly on his feet. Lands more shots, but Roman closes well. Still, best round for Miura in a while.
Round 10: Roman lands to the head with a hard right. Miura no longer trying to keep distance. These two guys are toe to toe and slugging. Miura lands two powerful lefts that straighten up Roman. Miura is making a real stand. Straight up phone booth style bashing. Miura lands a humongous left to Roman’s stomach and puts him down writhing in pain. Somehow, Roman gets up and beats the count. The bell mercifully rings. A fight changing shot.
Round 11: Miura probably can’t believe Roman is still here. Roman doing the same thing he’s done all night. Grinding in close. Miura gets Roman against the ropes and sends him to the canvas with a flurry. Again, Roman gets up. Roman still busy, but he’s lost his sting. Miura just needs to stay upright now.
Round 12: Miura ends the fight with a left uppercut followed by a straight left at 2:07 in the final round.
This was a tremendous fight. One would suspect Miura would be wanting a rematch against Vargas after this, but this was the kind of fight that takes months to recover from.
This was a war.