The scorecards that suggested Rolando Romero won a clear-cut decision over Jackson Marinez were almost as ridiculous as the interim lightweight title that was at stake.
A considerable amount of outrage was spawned from the Showtime-televised chief support this past Saturday from Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. Romero (12-0, 10KOs) claimed a highly questionable 12-round unanimous decision over Dominican Republic’s Marinez (19-1, 7KOs), a verdict which didn’t sit well with most observers who had it clearly going the other way.
Judges Don Trella, Glenn Feldman and especially Frank Lombardi—all three based locally in Connecticut—clearly saw a different fight, all seated a socially distanced six feet from the ring. Trella had the contest 115-113 for Las Vegas’ Romero, with Feldman one round wider at 116-112. Lombardi’s tally of 118-110 drew comparisons of the same score turned in by Adalaide Byrd in favor of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in his first fight with Gennadiy Golovkin in September 2017, with most believing the Mexican superstar deserved to lose.
The comparisons are fair, as there weren’t an alarming number of red flags prior to their respective assignments called into question. Lombardi has generally produced a solid track record in 20 years as a ringside official. Even his card of 115-112 in favor of Golovkin over Sergiy Derevyanchenko last October was merely a difference of opinion with most observers but hardly egregious given the competitive nature of the fight.
Saturday night was much, much different.
That said, Lombardi was in good (or bad) company throughout the fight. He landed in the majority in each of the 12 rounds scored on the night, although only six were scored unanimously one way or another. Romero swept rounds one, two, four, six and eleven, while all three judges awarded round ten in favor of Marinez—the one round from which there was so little to choose.
Romero claimed to have pressed the action the entire fight, coming in with a 90.9% knockout rate through 11 fights and as a 6-1 favorite to emerge victorious in the battle of unbeaten lightweights.
Accuracy was an issue for both boxers. Romero connected on just 86-of-209 total punches for a 16.9% rate according to Compubox statistics. Marinez was the more active of the two but also slightly less accurate, landing 103-of-629 for a 16.4% clip. Romero’s claim that Marinez offered little more than a jab didn’t show up in the stat sheet; the Dominican landed six more jabs (31-to-25) and 11 more power punches (72-to-61).
Still, the judges were apparently more impressed with Romero’s more telling blows as Marinez appeared to perform better in terms of the other points of scoring criteria. Not only that, but little variance came in their respective viewpoints.
Judges Lombardi and Feldman agreed on 10 of the 12 rounds. Both favored Romero in rounds 1-4, 6-7, 10 and 12, while both awarding rounds five and nine in favor of Marinez. Of the two rounds—eight and 11—on which they differed, Feldman scored both for Marinez.
Despite being just one point apart, judges Feldman and Trella hardly saw the same fight. The only six rounds on which they agreed were the aforementioned six scored unanimously.
Judge Feldman was alone in his scoring of rounds eight and 11 in favor of Marinez, while Trella was on his own for five of the 12 rounds scored—he was the only one of three to score rounds three, seven, 10 and 12 for Marinez, and the dissenting vote for Romero in round five.
Statistically, they were all good rounds to serve as the lone voice of reason. In particular, Marinez enjoyed his best round of the fight in the 11th, outlanding Romero 15-5 including 14-3 in power punches.
Lombardi’s card doesn’t quite carry the same benefit of the doubt, though his past history can easily suggest he simply had a bad night at the office. Of the two lone rounds he found to score for Marinez, it’s easy to argue that one—round five—should have landed in favor of Romero.
Calls have surfaced for a rematch, which Romero is eager to entertain. Hopefully the next time around will produce cleaner punching and a far more digestible outcome.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox