Sunday, January 17, 2010

Roman/Escalante column

Awaited matchup to finally happen
By Felix Chavez
El Paso Times
EL PASO - In 2003 both Antonio Escalante and Miguel “Mickey” Roman made their professional debuts and both had world championship thoughts on their minds.
Along the way, both fighters have won a lot of matches and]beat some pretty good. Their notable performances led to] talk of matching the two took out 'fighters' up in the ring at some point.
Finally, it will happen and there could be plenty of fireworks when Escalante and Roman step into the ring on Feb. 26 in the Don Haskins Center in a battle between two borderland fighters. Escalante lives in El Paso, but has Juarez ties, while Roman is Juarez-born and [remains] a resident in the Mexican city.
Escalante will be the favorite on Feb. 26. He's got title hopes on his mind at either 122 or 126 pounds and he has plenty at stake against Roman.
There is speculation that Escalante (22-2) could get a title fight this year and a win against Roman may very well secure that title fight. Meanwhile, the 28-6 Roman has had ups and downs in his career, particularly in the past 2 years.
Those involved in boxing know there is only so much time in a boxer's career and for Roman, the Feb. 26 matchup could very well be his last big shot in the sport. A win by Roman could position him for bigger and brighter things. A loss could mean curtains for his career or he could thrust himself into the position of being an opponent for primarily up and coming fighters.
If Roman is to beat Escalante, he is going to have to outwork and outhustle him. He can't let Escalante dictate the pace of the fight, otherwise Escalante will simply wear him down.
On the other hand, Escalante has to be careful in this fight too. There will be plenty of emotion in both camps and both fighters will want to look good in front of [knowledgable] Mexican and Mexican-American boxing fans. Also, both fighters want border area bragging rights and a reputation as the area's best featherweight.
Escalante must stay within his game plan and remain focused against a dangerous fighter.
This fight has the potential to be an exciting [match] with plenty of ebb and flow. Both fighters respect each other and as well they should. This is a solid matchup between two good talents and expect both fighters to engage early and often.
But, in the end, the bottom line is that Escalante has the better overall skill level and should have enough to win via late-round stoppage and take the next step to earning a world title shot.
Felix Chavez can be reached at fchavez@elpasotimes.com; (915) 546-6374.