Isaac Cruz couldn’t care less what Rolly Romero says about him during the buildup toward their title fight next month.

Mexico City’s Cruz is much more concerned with what happens once the bell rings to start their 12-round fight for Romero’s WBA super lightweight championship March 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Romero has mocked Cruz’s height and weight and otherwise disparaged the contender nicknamed “Pitbull” since they agreed to fight each other late last month.

“I respect every opponent, every person,” Cruz told, according to his translator. “The only time I lose that respect is when I’m inside the ring, exchanging blows with them. Clearly, Rolly’s main strength is to talk trash outside the ring. Let’s see if he backs that trash talk up in the ring, and if he’s as strong with his fists as he is with his mouth.”

Most sportsbooks list Cruz as more than a 2-1 favorite to beat Romero (15-1, 13 KOs), even though Cruz (25-2-1, 17 KOs) has moved up from the lightweight limit of 135 pounds to the 140-pound division for this fight on the Keith Thurman-Tim Tszyu pay-per-view undercard. Romero’s trash talk notwithstanding, he has repeatedly stated that he believes Cruz is a tougher opponent than Ryan Garcia (24-1, 20 KOs), the opponent Romero’s handlers initially negotiated for him to fight next.

Cruz, who has lost only to unbeaten knockout artist Gervonta Davis during the past eight years, expects to encounter a more formidable Romero than the one that struggled against Ismael Barroso in his last fight. Venezuela’s Barroso (25-4-2, 23 KOs) dropped North Las Vegas’ Romero during the third round and led on all three scorecards entering the ninth round, when referee Tony Weeks infamously stopped their fight last May 13 at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

“Every fighter can have an off night,” Cruz said. “Clearly, that was an off night for him. Did he benefit from what the referee did? Absolutely. But we are getting ready to face the best version of him. We’re not about to think what he did against Barroso will repeat against us.”

The 25-year-old Cruz isn’t about to pay much mind to whatever Romero says or does before fight night, either.

“Look, I really don’t care one bit what he may or may not do,” Cruz said. “He has his antics. He says some crazy stuff outside the ring. But as long as he comes out March 30th ready to put up a good fight against me, a fight for the fans to enjoy, that’s all I care about. I don’t give a sh*t what he says because I’m focusing on my own work."

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.