LAS VEGAS – Lamont Roach Jr. pulled out a close unanimous decision over 35-year-old Puerto Rican Jonathan Oquendo (30-6, 19 KO’s) on the under card of the Canelo Alverez-Danny Jacobs fight at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on May 4. The judges scored the bout, 96-93 and 97-92 twice, all for Roach.
He retained the World Boxing Organization (WBO) International super featherweight title and he won the North American Boxing Organization (NABO) super featherweight title.
Roach, an Upper Marlboro native, (19-0-1, 7 KO’s) was under pressure from Oquendo right after the opening bell. Roach was pushed to the ropes and weathered some hard shots to the body in the early rounds.
“He hit me with some clean body shots, but I got myself together and continued to box him,” said Roach.
During those exchanges with Oquendo, Roach suffered a bloody nose and it continued to bleed throughout the fight. It was tough going for Roach toward the middle of the ten-round fight. Nose bleeds can be, if not anything, annoying.
“I never met a cut or bleeding I don’t like. He was not moving his head,” said Roach’s veteran cut man Chris Ray, one of the best in the business.
Lamont was also hurt with a vicious body shot in the first round that lingered through out the fight.
“I felt those shots from the first round to the last round.”
Toward the late rounds, Roach started landing combinations and closing rounds with flurries. Oquendo was slowing down. Roach was helped when referee Russell Mora took a point from Oquendo for leading with his head in round 8.
These are the battles that prepare a young prospect like Roach, 23. Fights like this go to the memory bank and can be withdrawn as experience for the next tough fight.
“This is what I need to go up to the championship level. He’s as tough as they come,” recalls Roach. “If someone else brings the fight to me, I know I will be ready. I know I can go 10 or even 12 rounds.” Roach even experienced some boos from the crowd after the scores were announced.
Next up on the local front is Accokeek native “Swift” Jarrett Hurd defending his junior middleweight belts on May 11 at Eagle Bank Arena in Fairfax, Va.