Romero vs Cruz Predictions: ‘Pitbull’ can sink his teeth in

 | March 28 | 

4 mins read

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Rolando Romero has never been one to shy away from a challenge. The WBA super lightweight champion lives up to that reputation this Saturday March 30 as he defends his title against Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz. A true trade fight, hardcore fans know this one has the ingredients to be something special. The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas hosts this 12-rounder with Amazon Prime PPV televising. Here is my Romero vs Cruz preview ahead of what could be an early Fight of the Year contender.

Romero vs Cruz Tips

  • Cruz on points @ 4/1
  • Fight to go the distance - Yes @ 9/5

Many fans would tell you Romero is lucky to have the WBA championship around his waist. He met 40-year-old Ismael Barroso for the vacant crown in his last bout. The old-timer turned back the clock in a superb display but was denied by some bizarre officiating.

Firstly, referee Tony Weeks missed Romero shoving Barroso to the mat and awarded a knockdown. Then, later in the ninth round, he waved the contest off with Barroso dodging a number of wild Romero swings that clearly did not connect. It was a strange ending and grossly unfair on Barroso, who led on the cards at the time. 

Such a result has a way of sticking with a fighter through no fault of their own. After all, Romero didn’t choose to stop the fight. He was simply doing his job and boxing while the official chose to end proceedings. ‘Rolly’ himself would likely have preferred a more definitive ending. But it has still soured some on Romero in much the same way Josh Taylor lost fans after winning a controversial decision over Jack Catterall. 

Fighting Cruz is a perfect way to win back some of those floating voters. ‘Pitbull’ is a proper challenger, one eminently capable of troubling the very best fighters on the planet. He is one of only two people to take pound-for-pound candidate Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis the distance and the only fighter to do so in a 12-round fight.

‘Pitbull’ has numerous quality wins on his record. These include victories over former world champions Yuriorkis Gamboa and Francisco Vargas as well as ex-title challengers Diego Magdaleno and Jose Matias Romero. Cruz is yet to win a world title, but make no mistake he is operating at world level.

Unusually, this is a fight where the challenger actually enters in better form than the champion. Before his controversial win over Barroso, Romero lost his previous fight. He boxed well for five rounds against ‘Tank’ Davis before a monster left hand took him out in the sixth session of that WBA lightweight title clash. Coupled with his underwhelming display against resurgent veteran Barroso, Romero hasn’t convinced recently.

Meanwhile, Cruz has largely looked good in recent fights. Since losing that 2021 decision to Davis, he stopped Gamboa and Eduardo Ramirez. Giovanni Cabrera ran him close, with Cruz taking a split decision, but compared to Romero-Barroso it was a deserved nod. 

That might account for Cruz’s status as a 4/11 favourite coming in. 13/5 is certainly long for a defending champion, but arguably ‘Pitbull’ has done more to show he belongs at this level than the belt-holder. 

I think those odds are fair, too. Romero is decent defensively and can trade in the pocket. But Cruz is a relentless pressure fighter and if ‘Rolly’ was getting caught all night by Barroso’s long lefts, one wonders how he’ll do under the Mexican’s relentless barrage. Cruz has an incredible engine and a ceaseless nature. He will not stop and I can see him chasing the more cagey Romero around all night. 

Romero would be best served tying his challenger up on the inside and getting out of the way. But given Cruz’s output, I can’t see him stemming the tide for long enough to eke out a lead on the cards. This will be a spirited 12-rounder and one that I see going Cruz’s way on points. That outcome is priced at 4/1. After a few years spent on the cusp of lifting a world belt, I feel like the age of the ‘Pitbull’ is finally upon us.

You can find all our latest boxing tips and analysis at our Betfred Insights Boxing page

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