By Marc Livitz: Miguel “El Alacran” Berchelt and Miguel “Mickey” Roman did their best to give the fans at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas their money’s worth of action and suspense. They succeeded, yet what began as a possible candidate for one of the year’s best fights instead turned into a one-sided beatdown as Berchelt retained his WBC Junior Lightweight World Title by way of a ninth round TKO victory.
Pleasantries were abandoned, as the two fighters declined the customary touch of gloves after they’d received instructions from referee Jon Schorle. Berchelt (35-1, 31 KO’s) used a hard jab in the first as an angry look across his face may have been just the facade he’d been seeking. Roman (60-13, 47 KO’s) did his best to step around Miguel’s jab and found a bit of success with an overhand right directly to the chin.
He took the fight to “El Alacran” throughout much of the second and tried to capitalize on Berchelt’s tendency to raise his chin as well as lean forward. Berchelt didn’t seem fazed in the least, as he was all too eager to return fire to the man who was basically fighting in his hometown, as Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, MX is just a stone’s throw from the arena in El Paso.
Although Berchelt held a two inch advantage in height alongside nearly five in overall reach, Mickey Roman refused to be content as the ‘B’ side of the night and continued to push forward. Matters changed in the final minute of the third. Berchelt tagged him with a straight right and left hook, then scored almost at will. The onslaught almost sent Roman to the floor. He wisely held on, likely against his own wishes and desires, which allowed him to return to his corner and proceed to the fourth.
Throughout much of round four, Mickey controlled the pace, landed a few meaningful shots and backed up his opponent from the Yucatan peninsula. A few minutes later, Berchelt’s tendencies to lower his hands between punches allowed Roman to connect with overhand shots to the head. It seemed that regardless of whatever the champion threw in his direction, Roman was willing to take his best shot. The crowd at the Don Haskins Center voiced their temporary disapproval a minute into the fifth when each man failed to pummel the other for a few seconds. The brawl continued. Berchelt kept looking for the body. In the final seconds of the sixth, Roman was sent to the canvas twice.
Body shots set up a right hook for the first knockdown. Although Roman would beat the count, he’d quickly be sent back to the mat via another absorbed hook to the head. Luckily for him, the second knockdown was only separated by perhaps twenty seconds until the end of the stanza. His corner asked him if he wanted to continue and of course, he said yes. The gap in talent became more and more visible in the seventh. Roman was clearly gassed, beaten, yet not quite broken. He was there to be hit, yet unlike the preceding rounds, he wasn’t returning fire. It seemed as though he was in control of his night as opposed to his corner.
He was told by his team to fight back or they’d stop the bout. Successive head shots were landed by “El Alacran” in round eight and the body punches which followed did little more than to prompt Mickey to grin and nod at his Mexican compatriot. With his hands at his sides, he took more and more punishment without any signs of defense.
He’d make it back to his corner once more. The ninth said a lot about each man. With the crowd loudly chanting, “Mickey, Mickey!”, Roman took his third trip to the canvas with a minute left in the round. One shot after another, equally distributed high as well as low were the cause.
Still and as before, he rose to his feet and shrugged it off. Nevertheless, with fewer than five seconds to go and with his back to the ropes, Mickey Roman was finally and perhaps thankfully stopped. Successive head shots were a sign to referee Jon Schorle that he’d seen enough to stop the bout at the 2:58 point and give the TKO win to Miguel Berchelt, who retained his WBC Junior Lightweight championship.