Daniel Roman has a unique understanding of how Brandon Figueroa feels.
Roman lost a split decision and two world titles to an undefeated fighter in a 122-pound championship unification bout in January 2020 and didn’t get a rematch. Like Figueroa felt after his loss to Stephen Fulton, Roman believes he did enough to beat Uzbekistan’s Murodjon Akhmadaliev almost 2½ years ago in Miami.
As a former unified champion who wanted to face the winner, Roman also watched with interest when Fulton defeated Figueroa in a “Fight of the Year” candidate November 27 in Las Vegas. Roman respects the way Fulton fought that night, but he feels a draw would’ve been the fairest result of their 12-round fight for Fulton’s WBO junior featherweight title and Figueroa’s WBC super bantamweight championship.
Judge David Sutherland scored Fulton-Figueroa a draw (114-114). Judges Tim Cheatham (116-112) and Dave Moretti (116-112) scored eight rounds apiece for Fulton, who won a majority decision in a main event Showtime televised from Park MGM’s Dolby Live.
“It was a close fight,” Roman said during a recent virtual conference call. “I think [it was] a draw, if anything.”
Roman, who will fight Fulton on Saturday night in Minneapolis, still commended Fulton for fighting Figueroa (22-1-1, 17 KOs) the way that he did.
Fulton didn’t simply attempt to outbox Figueroa by remaining at ranges that would’ve favored the undefeated Philadelphia native in what would’ve been a more tactical encounter. The 27-year-old champion instead stood his ground often and fought on the inside with the ferocious Figueroa, who rarely stopped throwing punches.
“He did a good fight,” Roman said. “He did a smart fight. He did good adjustments during the fight. And it was a close fight, but he took it, you know? So, respect for him.”
Fulton feels that he showed a different dimension by defeating Figueroa at his own game. The confident Fulton outworked a volume puncher, Angelo Leo, in his previous fight to win a 12-round unanimous decision and the WBO 122-pound crown.
“I showed that I can do whatever it takes to get the job done,” Fulton said. “I boxed early in my career. I fought later, around these times. Who else knows what I can do? I know, but you guys don’t know. So, I just showed that side, [that there’s] more to Stephen Fulton.”
Showtime will broadcast the bout between Fulton (20-0, 8 KOs), the WBC/WBO 122-pound champion, and Los Angeles’ Roman (29-3-1, 10 KOs), a former IBF and WBA champ, as the main event of a live doubleheader from The Armory (9 p.m. ET; 6 p.m. PT). In the 12-round co-feature, Cuban-born Minneapolis resident David Morrell Jr. (6-0, 5 KOs) is scheduled to defend his secondary WBA super middleweight title versus Kalvin Henderson (15-1-1, 11 KOs), a big underdog from Fayetteville, Arkansas.
A replay of Gervonta Davis’ sixth-round technical knockout of Rolando Romero, which occurred last Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, will air before the Morrell-Henderson fight. Baltimore’s Davis (27-0, 25 KOs) stopped North Las Vegas’ Romero (14-1, 12 KOs) with a left hand late in the sixth round of what had developed into a competitive fight for Davis’ WBA world lightweight title.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.