Rolando Romero: ‘I became a better fighter’ as result of loss to Gervonta Davis

Rolando Romero doesn’t view his fate against Gervonta Davis as a total loss.

Yes, the powerful Davis caught him with a big left hand and knocked him out in the sixth round of their 135-pound fight last May. That’s a matter of record.

At the same time, the fact he fought Davis on roughly even terms until the stoppage and the experience he gained left him with a positive outlook going into his fight with Ismael Barroso on Saturday night in Las Vegas (Showtime).

Romero will be fighting as a full-fledged 140-pounder for the first time. The vacant WBA title reportedly will be at stake.

“Gervonta Davis didn’t win that fight, I lost that fight,” Romero told Boxing Junkie. “I can say it like that. It was a reflection of a mistake I made more than him being great. Before that, the person being great was me.

“… Regardless, I’m forever grateful for that opportunity. I became smarter, I became a better fighter.”

The fight Saturday at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is another significant opportunity.

Romero (14-1, 12 KOs) had been scheduled to challenge WBA beltholder Alberto Puello but Puello was pulled from the card after allegedly testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. He reportedly was stripped of his title.

Barroso, a 40-year-old slugger from Venezuela, agreed to step in about three weeks before the fight.

Romero is perfectly happy fighting Barroso – particularly because the full title will be on the line – but he was outraged when he heard about the doping allegation of his original opponent.

“It’s just disgusting,” he said. “Testing positive for banned substances is f—ed up. Our health is at stake. It’s not like every other sport. Boxers die all the time. … I think anyone who gets caught with that should be permanently banned from boxing.”

The positive drug test opened a door for Barroso, who Romero believes could pose a stiffer challenge than Puello would have.

Puello is an athletic, slick technician. Barroso (24-3-2, 22 KOs) is known more for his punching power than his boxing ability, although he has solid skills. He was stopped by then 135-pound beltholder Anthony Crolla in 2016, his only title shot.

Both Puello and Barroso are left-handed, which will have made the transition easier for Romero in one sense.

Romero was asked about Barroso’s knockout record.

“Oh, he can punch,” he said. “He’s one of those guys with heavy hands. And he’s tricky, experienced. Is this a step down? I think it’s a step up. Puello can’t punch. This dude can punch.

“I can’t fall asleep on this guy. You can’t even compare the two on that.”

You also can’t compare Barroso to Romero’s previous opponent, Davis. That could bode well for him, as he can box and punch hard, too. The glory that eluded him against one of the best in the business last year could come one fight later.

“I’ll be excited to be champion,” he said, “and to put on a show for my hometown fans in Las Vegas. I’m just excited to be back.”


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Story originally appeared on Boxing Junkie