Earlier this month, we were treated to an instant classic in the middleweight division as Robert Whittaker made his first title defense in a rematch against Yoel Romero. The fight was a war throughout the whole five rounds, but apparently it could have came to a stop earlier than that had Romero not made some adjustments.
Whittaker would win the very close battle via split decision. The fight didn’t officially count as a title defense either as Romero missed weight heading into the clash.
How much of a factor the weight cut played into the fight for Romero is something we’ll ever know or be able to put a blame on considering how well he did regardless.
After a sensational third round put in by Romero where he dropped Whittaker numerous times, the Aussie champion would rally and take the fourth round putting him up by three rounds going into the fifth.
Romero’s coach at American Top Team told MMAIndia recently that it was in between these championship rounds that Romero’s corner almost stopped the fight for him.
“It was a comment made by [Jorge] Masvidal who was in Romero’s corner.
They noticed that Romero was exhausted and that he wasn’t really listening to anybody or paying attention, that’s when Masvidal told him ‘my friend, it’s only five more minutes, but if you continue this way, I’m gonna throw in the towel,’
When Romero heard the word ‘towel’, he stood up quickly, took a deep breath, walked around and then he was better and put that final pressure.”
Seemingly a motivational tactic by the part of ATT, it seemed to pay off as Romero would emphatically take the fifth round. Unfortunately for the Cuban, it wouldn’t be enough to earn the victory.
Surely a trilogy bout could happen somewhere down the line but Whittaker has no interest in that anytime soon as he now holds two wins over Romero. But to say that the fans wouldn’t love to see the two go at it one more time would just be a flat out lie.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 6/21/2018.