LAS VEGAS – Rolando Romero will not get the potentially career-changing opportunity he had scheduled for December 5 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
BoxingScene.com has learned that Romero all but certainly will be removed from his pay-per-view showdown with rival Gervonta Davis due to a sexual assault allegation made by a woman with whom the lightweight contender was acquainted in their hometown of North Las Vegas, Nevada. Izabel Zambrano, 24, has described in detail through her Twitter account since late Thursday night an alleged sexual assault that occurred in Romero’s apartment.
She later stated on Twitter that she filed a police report Friday night. The date of the alleged incident was not known when this story was posted.
A spokesman for the nearby Henderson Police Department confirmed to BoxingScene.com late Saturday afternoon PDT that an official report was filed Friday night and the matter is now considered an open investigation. The allegations and investigation into a sexual assault have been taken extremely seriously by executives for Showtime, the pay-per-view distributor of the event, Mayweather Promotions, which represents Davis and Romero, and Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, with which Davis (25-0, 24 KOs) and Romero (14-0, 12 KOs) both are affiliated.
Stephen Espinoza, Showtime’s president of sports and event programming, acknowledged that the network is aware of these serious allegations. Espinoza declined to discuss, however, the status of Romero’s involvement in the Davis fight.
“Obviously, these are disturbing allegations and we’re very concerned,” Espinoza told BoxingScene.com. “It’s a developing situation and we are monitoring the facts as things develop. We haven’t made any decisions yet, so we’re not gonna comment at this time, other than to say that we are monitoring it very closely.”
BoxingScene.com has confirmed, though, that handlers for Davis spent Saturday searching for potential replacements for Romero in a WBA world lightweight title fight that is supposed to headline a Showtime Pay-Per-View event.
Representatives for Dominican contender Michel Rivera were approached about challenging Davis five weeks from Saturday night. Rivera (21-0, 14 KOs) is scheduled to box Argentina’s Jose Matias Romero (24-1, 8 KOs) on Saturday night in the 10-round opener of Showtime’s tripleheader from Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino’s Michelob ULTRA Arena (10 p.m. EDT; 7 p.m. PDT).
Even if Rivera leaves the ring relatively unscathed following a decisive victory, he is not expected to accept what would be a quick turnaround to battle Baltimore’s Davis in what would be by far the toughest test of Rivera’s career.
Mexican contender Isaac Cruz (21-1-1, 15 KOs) was a candidate to face Davis before Mayweather Promotions chose Romero as his next opponent last month.
It wasn’t clear at the time this story was posted if Cruz would be willing to take such a difficult fight on short notice. Cruz, 23, is the WBA’s seventh-ranked lightweight contender, five spots beneath the second-ranked Rivera.
Romero, 26, is the WBA’s number one contender in the 135-pound division.
Regardless, Romero won’t get the championship chance or the spotlight he so clearly craved during a press conference to kick off the Davis-Romero promotion October 21 outside of Staples Center. Draped in a fur coat amid 80-degree temperatures, a shirtless Romero mocked Davis and launched into several profane tirades while promising to knock out the favored, powerful southpaw.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.