On Saturday, June 18, at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois, WBA Super World bantamweight champion Juan Carlos Payano (17-0, 8 KOs), the southpaw from Miami, Florida, by way of La Vega, Dominican Republic, defends his title against three-time Olympian Rau’shee Warren (13-1, 4 KOs), from Cincinnati, Ohio, in a rematch of their August fight.
That bout ended in a split decision. Two judges scored it 113-111 in favor of Payano, while the third judge had it 115-109 for Warren.
Warren is defensive-minded and fought accordingly, somewhat to the dismay of the champion.
“I ran him ragged from post to post,” said Payano. “It was the champion chasing the challenger. Normally to win the title, it has to be the other way around. If he (Warren) had got the decision, there would have been no controversy, he’d be a superstar.”
Rau’shee doesn’t see it that way.
“I felt like I clearly won the first fight,” he said. “I thought the two judges that scored for him were going to give it to him no matter what I did. The fight was in his backyard. It really hurt me to see his hand raised. I felt cheated.
“I watched our first fight about 20 times. I spent a lot of time looking at my mistakes and things I needed to eliminate. I feel like this fight is going to be really easy for me now. Payano is not getting out of this one. I won’t be finished until he stops. He’s going to try to get away from me, but I’m going to use what I’m doing in the gym to take him out smart. I’m way smarter now and a knockout is going to come.”
Warren only has four KOs to his credit, so predicting a knockout may be wishful thinking.
“I plan to win even more convincingly this time,” said Payano. “I’m going to use my ring intelligence and not fight on emotion like I did in the first fight. I’m going to fight smart, but my style is my style. I don’t know how to fight any other way, so it will be another great fight. I’m sure he will make adjustments but I know I will win this fight.”
The Payano vs. Warren rematch will be televised live by Premier Boxing Champions on NBC starting at 8:30 PM ET/5:30 PM PT.
This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.