Last night Rolly Romero stepped up a division to capture the WBA Super Lightweight World Title against Ismael Barroso. However, the fight will only be remembered for the stoppage which many have called “disgraceful”.
At the time of the premature stoppage from Referee Tony Weeks, Barroso was up on all 3 of the judges cards. Rolly was having limited success and was struggling against the veteran Barroso who was out working him in every department. It was in the 9th round that the controversy unravelled though! Barroso was rocked by a 2 punch combination but then appeared to be pushed down by Romero, yet Weeks ruled it a knockdown!
The controversy only got worse from there as Rolly looked to take advantage. In a flurry of punches, many of which looked as though they were not even landing, Weeks stepped in to wave the fight off! Barroso was fighting back and wasn’t showing any signs of going back down. Every fighter deserves a chance to recover, especially when ahead on the cards, but Tony Weeks took this away from Barroso.
Boxing is constantly clouded in controversy whether it’s the judges scoring, referee stoppages or boxers failing drugs tests and last night was another black mark for the sport. As soon as the fight was waved off, fans and boxers themselves took to social media to blast the decision.
Ryan Garcia and Joseph Diaz, both prominent figures in the 140-pound division, voiced their disapproval of the referee’s call. Even undisputed middleweight champion Claressa Shields expressed her disdain, stating that “boxing took an L tonight” and criticizing the decision as “pathetic.”
At 40 years old, Barroso may have seen his last opportunity to secure a World title although there will be calls for a rematch. Despite the pre-fight odds, he had dominated the fight through the first eight rounds, displaying superior skill and strategy. Not only was Barroso ahead on the scorecards, but he also scored a knockdown against Romero in the third round, solidifying his control of the match.
The stoppage not only raises concerns about Weeks’ decision-making, but it also highlighted broader issues within the sport. Calls for a thorough review of officiating protocols and increased accountability for referees have resonated throughout the boxing community. The incident has emphasized the need for improved transparency and fairness to restore faith in the integrity of the sport.
By Lee Browne