Earlier this year Rolando Romero was negotiating to fight Ryan Garcia but instead pulled an audible and opted to face Isaac Cruz instead.

Romero (15-1, 13 KOs), the WBA junior welterweight titleholder, will face Cruz (25-2-1, 17 KOs) on March 30 as the co-main event of the card headlined by the fight between Keith Thurman and Tim Tszyu at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Amazon pay-per-view.

Cruz, a career-long lightweight, will make his 140-pound debut against Romero. Both fighters have lost to knockout artist Gervonta Davis – Romero by a one-punch knockout in 2022, and Cruz in a competitive decision in 2021.

Romero is confident that he’ll steamroll Cruz, nicknamed “Pitbull,” going so far as to label his opponent “a chihuahua” during the buildup to their fight.

“We’re going to bang it out,” Romero said. “One punch for me and one punch for him. I’m going to go at him and beat the f*** out of him … He's going to run into [my punches] because he has no other choice. He’s going to get hit by a real 140-pounder. It’s going to be really bad.”

As evidence, Romero points to the hard-charging Cruz’s technical liabilities.

“He opens up wide every time he throws a punch,” Romero said. “He almost falls over every time he throws a punch. His balance is horrible. He only has volume when you stand in front of him. He has a big head that’s going to be hard to miss. ... All he has to do is bring his fat ass and make sure he makes weight.”

“It's going to be real bad. … I'll give him this, though: He does have a lot of balls.” 

To be fair, Romero has shown his own fair share of vulnerabilities.

In May, he was awarded a questionable ninth-round stoppage win against Ismael Barroso when referee Tony Weeks waved off the fight, despite Barroso holding up well in a fight that he led on all three cards.

“Barroso is the hardest hitter I've ever been in the ring with,” Romero said. “But I was on the verge of knocking him out anyway.”

Romero also deems Cruz as a tougher task than Garcia, who is now scheduled to fight WBC super lightweight champion Devin Haney on April 20.

“He’s more durable,” Romero said of Cruz in comparison to Garcia. “He comes in to fight. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to whip his ass. My job is to make 140 the biggest and most poppin’ division in boxing.”