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Isaac Cruz lays waste to Rolando Romero in winning first major title


by Joseph Santoliquito | 

So much for words. So much for glitz and showmanship. Isaac “Pit Bull” Cruz is an anachronism, a throwback to the basic times of boxing, when from grainy black-and-white celluloid showing plodding guys who shuffled along in a seek-and-destroy mode.

That’s Cruz.

It certainly was Saturday night before 14,726 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on the Tim Tszyu-Sebastian Fundora co-feature on Premier Boxing Champions’ inaugural Amazon Prime event.

Cruz (26-2-1, 18 knockouts) stopped Rolando “Rolly” Romero at :56 of the eighth round, claiming his first major title, winning the WBA junior welterweight title.

“I’m very happy and humbled to win this title for my family and for Mexico,” Cruz said. “I was prepared for this. I wasn’t here to just fight. I was here to terminate him… 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.

“I feel great! Here were the fruits of four months of hard work reaping their rewards. This is priceless. It was just a matter of time, but damn if it doesn’t feel good to be a world champion.

“I fought with the intention to leave the decision out of the judges’ hands. Mission accomplished.”

Cruz actually won the fight in the first round. It was Rolly who was talking big, though he was the one who first registered fear.

Pit Bull came full of emotion. He swung wildly looking to end the fight in the first minute. It took him about 90 seconds to fall into fight mode and calm down. That’s when he plowed Romero with a hammer left hook with just over a minute left in the round.

Romero (15-2, 13 KOs) was done. He was actually done for the rest of the fight. He fumbled around, trying to find his legs. But there were circuits in his head that were clearly disconnected. Rolly was fortunate to get out of the round on his feet.

That created the template that would follow round after round. Romero went into survival gear, while Cruz kept stalking, kept pouncing, trying to hit Romero anywhere and anyway he could.

In the third, when it Romero appeared to have his legs back, Cruz closed in on Romero again, walking through everything Romero threw.

As the final minute of the fourth approached Cruz had Romero right in front of him, cornering him with thudding shots. Romero found a way to escape, but he knew he was in trouble.

As the fifth closed, Cruz smashed Romero with thudding shots to the head and the body. Romero ran away anytime Cruz neared.

In the sixth, Cruz had to run after Romero again, connecting to the body, while Romero settled to throw one punch at a time then stand for any prolonged moment in front of Pit Bull.

By the seventh, Cruz had outlanded Romero 90-75. With 40 seconds left in the, Cruz ripped Romero with a right uppercut, followed by a left hook, followed by a right.

Referee Tom Taylor looked at Rolly before the eighth, concerned he had little left to fend off Cruz. With 2:18 left in the eighth, Taylor stopped the action so Cruz could get tape reattached to his glove. Then Pit Bull slammed a left hook into Romero’s chin, followed by a right, left, and another punishing right before Taylor mercifully stepped in and ended it at :56 of the eighth.

“I don’t have anything to say to Gervonta (Davis), really,” Cruz said. “He can whatever he wants, but we silenced the doubters tonight. If he isn’t scared, let’s go for the rematch. Ryan Garcia can say whatever he wants. I’ll make him eat all the trash he talks, just like I did with Rolly.

“This wasn’t just me. It was something I accomplished thanks to the support of my family.”

Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.
Follow @JSantoliquito

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