‘Pitbull’ Cruz stops ‘Rolly’ Romero; Lara and Martinez shine in wins

Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz set the tone early Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena, with wild overhand rights that whistled by the head of Rolando “Rolly” Romero.

Then Cruz put on a masterclass in stalking and cutting off the ring versus Romero.

Finally, Cruz completed his beatdown of Romero with at least six straight shots to the head, forcing referee Tom Taylor to stop the fight at 56 seconds of the eighth round. With the victory, Cruz took Romero’s WBA junior welterweight world title on the co-main event of a card headlined by a junior middleweight title fight between Tim Tszyu and Sebastian Fundora.

“I didn’t want to come here and just win,” said Cruz. “I wanted to massacre Rolly and make him eat all the garbage he said to me. …I fought with the intention to leave the decision out of the judges’ hands.”

Mission accomplished.

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The relentless Cruz (26-2-1, 18 KOs), of Mexico City, so dominated the fight that Romero had to be checked by the ringside doctor before heading out for the fateful eighth round. Romero almost went down in the first round after taking a left hook to the forehead, was docked a point for holding in the fifth and was again saved by the ropes in the seventh after taking a big right uppercut to the chin that essentially had him out on his feet.

Cruz has now won four consecutive fights since losing a unanimous decision to Gervonta Davis on Dec. 5, 2021 in Los Angeles.

“I was prepared for this. I wasn’t here to just fight. I was here to terminate him,” said Cruz. “I did my talking right here in the ring. And I did this not just for me but for everybody that is here at T-Mobile Arena. There’s going to be a Mexican champ at 140 pounds for a long time.”

The taller Romero, who fights out of Las Vegas but felt no home-ring advantage with a raucous pro-Mexico crowd, fell to 15-2 as he has now lost two of this last three fights.

He lost by a sixth-round TKO versus Davis on May 28, 2022 in Brooklyn for the WBA’s lightweight title before stopping Ismael Barroso for the WBA’s junior welterweight title on May 13, 2023 in Las Vegas. He never looked comfortable with the way Cruz cut the ring off on him, while absorbing so many power shots.

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