Miguel “Mickey” Roman (58-13, 45 KOs) brought new life to his career with a spectacular and dominant ninth-round technical knockout victory against four-time, two division world champion Orlando “Siri” Salido (44-14, 31 KOs) in a Fight of the Year Candidate and main event of HBO Boxing After Dark at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Roman, a native of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, scored knockdowns in rounds four and eight before the fight was finally stopped at 1:43 of the ninth round after a fight-finishing flurry sent Salido to the canvas for the last time in his career.
“It’s my moment, and I want to fight against any champion,” said Roman. “I was doing everything well, even though everything is always against me. But things will change from now on. That’s why I want any champion at featherweight or super featherweight, but on HBO. The new camp, the good work we did, the good training–those changes made the difference and we are all able to see that tonight. Nobody knew, but if I lost, I would have retired. It was very important to fight against a great champion like Orlando Salido and win.”
“I’ve beaten young fighters before, but this time it was a matter of age,” said Salido. “Time takes its toll, and obviously I just couldn’t do it. This was my last fight. Thank you to all, to those who will remember me for all the great fights that I had, and to the people who have followed me.”
Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas (24-2, 17 KOs) scored a ninth-round technical unanimous decision victory against Stephen “Swifty” Smith (25-4, 15 KOs) of Liverpool, United Kingdom in a scheduled 10-round super featherweight bout. Vargas, a native of Mexico City, Mexico, tried the new boxing skills that he has learned under his new trainer Joel Diaz. However, the fight was cut a bit short in the ninth round after a severe laceration on Smith’s left ear called a halt to the fight. Vargas was victorious with scores of 89-82, 88-83 and 88-83.
“This was a great win for me, and I’m happy I ended the year on a good note,” said Vargas. With my new team, I know I’ll be back soon and in big fights. I want to be world champion again, and I’ll be back very soon.”
Rene “El Gemelo” Alvarado (28-8, 19 KOs) of Managua, Nicaragua headlined the HBO Latino Boxing double-header with an upset split decision victory against Denis Shafikov (38-4, 20 KOs) in a ten-round super featherweight fight. Alvarado defeated the native of Miass, Russia with scores of 96-93, 96-94 and 94-95.
Ireland’s Aaron “Silencer” McKenna (1-0), the welterweight prospect who has recently signed with Golden Boy Promotions, made a successful professional debut with a four-round unanimous decision victory against Travis Conley (1-1, 1 KO) in the super welterweight division. McKenna won with three scores of 40-36.