Every week I spend at least a little bit of time combing the Boxrec.com site, looking for interesting international fights that have mostly slipped by the attention of the North American boxing media. Boxing is one of the few sports that is truly world-wide and there’s a lot worth keeping an eye on.
The fight that got my attention this week happens Friday night in Barcelona, when tough Mexican veteran Miguel Roman (55-11) travels across the Atlantic to face local hero Juli Giner (18-1-1). Boxrec rates Giner as the top pound-for-pound boxer in all of Spain, though I personally think it’s a bit absurd to hold up his resume as better than Kiko Martinez’s. In 2014, Giner drew and then lost to Ruddy Encarnacion, a 36-24-4 journeyman.
But Juli Giner is coming off from the best win of his career, a Round 8 TKO of Romain Jacob in Jacob’s native France. Jacob was 23-0 at the time of that fight, though he had beaten nobody of international note. Still, that win seems to have propelled Giner up some of the alphabet-soup ratings. The WBC, WBA and IBF all have him ranked in their top five, so a win in this bout could position him as an alphabet-soup mandatory. This could particularly be the case with the WBC, who have Roman ranked right behind Giner at No. 3.
I see Miguel Roman as the really interesting fighter in this bout. He’s a true Mexican ring warrior. At just 30 years of age, he’s had 65 professional fights. He’d fought three times as a pro before turning 18, which isn’t actually all that rare in Mexico (Canelo Alvarez had fought 21 pro fights before turning 18).
Since the start of 2013, Roman has won 16 straight, with 13 by stoppage. Among his victims during that run are multiple-time world champions Daniel Ponce De Leon and Juan Carlos Salgado. In 2012 he was 1-1 against world-title challenger Dante Jardon. He lost in world title challenges against Jonathan Victor Barros in 2011 and Antonio DeMarcos in 2012.
I’ve never seen Juli Giner fight, but I still feel like I know exactly how this one is likely to play out. Roman has the classic, Mexican School of Hardknocks Education that produces very dangerous, savvy fighters. He was going 10 rounds against Jorge Solis when he was 22, the year after Solis fought Manny Pacquiao. Giner might have 10 fewer losses and stand higher in the rankings, but in terms of true boxing education, Roman is a graduate student and Giner is in his first year of community college.