Danny Roman does Dallas
About 18 months ago, WBA junior featherweight titlist Danny Roman was an unknown boxer from the West Coast fighting mostly at the Doubletree Hotel, in Ontario, California. Since then, beginning with his thrashing of Adam Lopez on “ShoBox,” in January of 2017, he has become a world champion (fighting twice in Japan) and now he has a slot on tonight’s Showtime broadcast from Frisco, Texas (near Dallas), against Moises Flores.
You could say it’s been a bit of a whirlwind for Roman, right?
“Now that you said it, yeah, it’s been pretty fast,” said Roman, chuckling at the question. “Well, to the people, I was nobody. Nobody knew me when I fought Adam Lopez, even had me losing but hard work pays off. Hard work pays off and the training, getting ready. It’s been pretty fast, now that you said it.”
As one can tell, Roman, 24-2-1 (9), is an unassuming sort who really isn’t any different than he was before capturing a world title belt. This much you can tell, just by the fact that he still goes to the Maywood Boxing Club, a gym situated in a blue-collar suburb of Los Angeles. His last day of training in Southern California is done in the same facility alongside young amateurs and fledgling professionals.
“Nothing has changed. Everything is the same for me; everybody treats me the same,” he says. “I feel the same; it’s all good. It makes me feel good.” During this camp, he also went to nearby Legendz Boxing, where he sparred Michael Dutchover, Ruben Torres and Brandon Valdez. The person Roman was before winning the title is the exact same person you see now.
“I think it has to do with the fact he’s such a humble individual,” said Eddie Gonzalez, his longtime trainer. “Money and fame doesn’t turn him on. Good loyal friends turn him on; good family turn him on. And that’s Danny; he’s such a Christian kid that material things to him aren’t that important.”
Roman has earned good money in Japan but he hasn’t purchased anything extravagant. However there is one thing he has his eyes on. “I’m saving up; hopefully by the end of this year, I get my own place,” said Roman, who lives in an apartment with his father in South L.A.
So just which zip code is he looking at?
“Well…I gotta think about it,” said Roman, laughing. Again, this is a young man who keeps it simple. For Roman, focusing on his career is his main objective. And after two long-distance overseas flights to the “Land of the Rising Sun,” he now gets national exposure in the “Lone Star State” at the Dallas Cowboys training facility. “It doesn’t matter where I go; I still look at the fight as an important fight. I don’t take no fight lightly. Every single fight is important for me.”
And this will be one that will be televised in the United States.
“I was happy because it’s more exposure for me. I haven’t got that much exposure here back in the States,” says the 28-year-old native of Los Angeles. “Now I’ll be on Showtime, so everybody will be watching.”
There’s no doubt that Roman – who suffered some early blemishes in his career and was actually released by Thompson Boxing Promotions (eventually re-signing by the company) – is a boxer who has found his stride as pro. As you see him fight, this is someone who has surging confidence in his abilities.
His trainer says, “His confidence comes from the work he does, the discipline he has in the sport. If you want to call that confidence, then, yeah, he’s pretty confident about that.”
However pre-Lopez, many wondered how high Roman’s ceiling was. His rapid growth as a prizefighter has been eye-opening. Gonzalez states, “He wasn’t getting the exposure. Danny has always had the skills. Maybe he was not developing them as fast as other people wanted him to but it’s a process. Danny’s a pretty sharp individual; he’s pretty intelligent and I always told him, ‘The slower we take it, the better it becomes.’ You rush things…Who knows?”
A win tonight could lead to some sizable paydays and unification opportunities.
“We talked to Danny and he’s not one to look past the next opponent he’s got in front of him. He knows that Flores is a tough guy, tough challenger and he needs to go through that,” stated Alex Camponovo, general manager and matchmaker for Thompson Boxing. “Obviously the idea is to unify the belts. We have (Isaac) Dogboe at the WBO, the IBF champion in Japan (Ryosuke Iwasa) and we’ve also had conversations with Golden Boy (Promotions) about (WBC beltholder) Rey Vargas. So there’s plenty of things we can do to unify, by clearing this mandatory, that we have a little bit of leeway.”
Roman tangling with Dogboe and Vargas looks like really good fights on paper that would garner the interest of American networks. Just as importantly, they figure to be entertaining bouts.
“I see him matching up pretty good. Maybe it sounds pretty vain to say that Danny is actually the best 122-pounder in the world,” opined Gonzalez. “Look, Rey Vargas, to me, is the toughest of the 122s because of his range, has excellent combinations, but there’s a lot of different things you can exploit on him too. The new champion Dogboe, he is pretty strong, comes forward, but his style fits Danny perfectly. He’s a fun kid but that’s what I see in him.”
Roman – latest example of why #BeltsMatter – states, “If everything goes good after this fight, I would like to unify with any of the champions. I don’t mind going back to Japan either to challenge the IBF champion.”
But first he must get through Flores, 25-0 (1), (who failed to make the 122-pound weight limit and will be ineligible to win the belt tonight) before he can go belt hunting.
“He’s a Mexican fighter. He’s solid, he’s taller than me, longer reach,” Roman says of his upcoming foe. “So he’s going to bring the fight to me and that’s good because he comes to fight and that’s what I like.”
Here’s the latest edition of “The 3 Knockdown Rule,” in which Mario Lopez and I discuss the finalizing of the rematch between unified middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin and Saul Alvarez and everything else in the sport of boxing.
This Showtime tripleheader, which is headlined by IBF welterweight titlist Errol Spence Jr. (who faces Carlos Ocampo), from the Ford Center at the Star, begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT…Opening this broadcast is a junior welterweight bout between Adrian Granados and Javier Fortuna…Per the WBA rules, win or lose, Roman will retain his title since Flores failed to make weight…Mike Alvarado has been added to the Top Rank undercard, on June 30, in Oklahoma City…You see Adrien Broner’s Instagram account lately? Yeah, something’s going on…Mike Bibby looks like he’s been doing a lot of lifting lately…I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.