Fairfield’s Justin Rolfe wasn’t knocked down, but he fell by first-round technical knockout to undefeated Steven Torres in their scheduled four-round heavyweight boxing match at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday afternoon.
The nationally televised bout, marking the first time Rolfe had fought outside of New England, was on the undercard of a Fox Sports/Premier Boxing Champions promotion headlined by the Manny Pacquaio-Yordenis Ugas battle for the World Boxing Association super welterweight title scheduled for later in the evening.
Rolfe, now 6-3-1 with four knockouts, had won three of his last four bouts and two in a row entering his Las Vegas debut, including a unanimous-decision victory over Jose Corral in late June to capture the American Boxing Federation Atlantic heavyweight title.
Rolfe, 29, entered the match against Torres as an underdog, in part because his opponent is backed by Premier Boxing Champions founder Al Haymon. But at 6-foot-7 and 250 pounds, the 23-year-old Torres also had an 8-inch height advantage over the 5-foot-10, 257 1/2-pound Rolfe as well as an 11-inch (81-70) reach advantage.
Rolfe, a former New England heavyweight champion, sought to work his way inside against Torres in the opening minutes of the fight and did land several left hooks to his taller opponent.
But Torres picked up the pace with about 90 seconds left in the three-minute round and landed a succession of right hands to the body and head.
That prompted referee Robert Hoyle to stop the fight with 27 seconds left before the bell to end the round, sparking a modest protest from Rolfe.
The win improved Torres’ record to 5-0, with all of his victories by knockout or TKO.
Torres, a Reading, Pennsylvania, product, began boxing at age 12 in order to lose weight and eventually dropped from a high of 410 pounds to his current fighting weight of 250.
The Torres-Rolfe bout originally was scheduled on the undercard of a July 24 fight between heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, but the title bout was postponed until Oct. 9 after Fury tested positive for COVID-19 during training camp.
The postponement enabled Torres to do some sparring with Wilder in preparation for his fight with Rolfe.