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Pitbull Cruz: 'Pitbull' Cruz stops 'Rolly' Romero; Lara and Martinez shine i...

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Published Time: 31.03.2024 - 02:04:30 Modified Time: 31.03.2024 - 02:04:30

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. Pitbull Cruz, rolly romero, isaac cruz


Isaac Cruz, right, dominated Rolando "Rolly" Romero in an eighth-round TKO victory to become the WBA junior welterweight champion. Esther Lin/PBCFollow on X

LAS VEGAS -- 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.

Mission accomplished.

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 straight 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 against 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.

Erislandy Lara, right, scored a second-round KO victory of Michael Zerafa to retain his WBA middleweight title. Esther Lin/PBC

The crowd booed at the relative lack of action. It whistled derisively.

Then it shrieked in appreciation.

Such was the reaction to Erislandy Lara's quick 1-2 combination knockout of Michael Zerafa at 2:59 of the second round to defend his WBA middleweight title.

With the clock winding down in the round, the left-handed Lara connected with a right jab to Zerafa's jaw before unleashing a straight left to the same spot on the Australian.

Zerafa's head bounced off the bottom ring rope, and while he rose before the count of 10, he negatively shook his head at referee Allen Huggins, who waved off the fight with a second to go in the round.

Lara (30-3-3, 18 KOs), from Guantanamo, Cuba and making his second title defense, has scored four stoppage victories in his last five fights. Zerafa (31-5, 19 KOs), from Melbourne, suffered his first defeat since December 2019.

"Rust? What rust? I've worked my f---ing ass off in training because I know that all of these fighters are coming for my title," Lara said after the fight. "By staying ready, you don't have to get ready.

"I have always said that I only need one or two rounds to size my opponent up, and I knew I had him from the very first round. That left hand shot was just a matter of time."

Julio Cesar Martinez, right, defeated Angelino Cordova to retain his WBC flyweight world title. Esther Lin/PBC

A game of chase became a game of catch -- and survival -- for Julio Cesar Martinez as the WBC flyweight champion twice knocked down challenger Angelino Cordova with left hooks in the first minute of the third round.

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