NEW YORK – Good matchmaking.
Those were the two words Rolando Romero uttered without hesitation when he was asked how Gervonta Davis remains undefeated. The same men make fights for Davis and Romero, who many skeptics insist is another unbeaten but overmatched opponent Davis will knock out Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
An extremely confident Romero remained unfazed before their press conference Thursday at a Marriott near the Brooklyn Bridge. He wholeheartedly believes he’ll be the one to expose what he considers an overrated Davis in their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event, a 12-round fight for Davis’ WBA world lightweight title (9 p.m. ET; $74.99).
Baltimore’s Davis is 26-0, including 24 knockouts. The strong southpaw also is 10-0 in title fights, nine of which he has ended inside the distance.
North Las Vegas’ Romero still isn’t impressed with Davis’ resume, largely because he feels Davis has feasted on lighter fighters who’ve moved up in weight to face him. Davis’ rival also discredited two of his most noteworthy wins – stoppages of Jose Pedraza and Mario Barrios in 130-pound and 140-pound title fights, respectively – because Romero suspects Pedraza, then the IBF junior lightweight champ, and Barrios, then the WBA’s secondary super lightweight champ, were weight-drained opponents who should’ve been boxing in the divisions above where they lost to Davis.
“The best fighter he fought was Jose Pedraza, and Jose Pedraza was weight-drained as f---,” Romero told a group of reporters in reference to Davis’ seventh-round stoppage in January 2017 at Barclays Center. “I mean, Pedraza’s bigger than me. He’s like this f------- tall [raised his arm high above his head]. And he looked like sh!t with Pedraza, honestly, until he got him out of there. Liam Walsh – chinny UK fighter. [Francisco Fonseca], he hit him behind the head. … Ryan Garcia knocked [Fonseca] out in one round, like nothing, and you’re gonna tell me Ryan Garcia don’t punch harder than the motherf------? And this motherf------ hit [Fonseca] behind the head. Then he fought [Jesus] Cuellar, who was another 126-pounder. He fought f------- the dude from Panama [Ricardo Nunez], who caught him in the clinch. I don’t know why the f--- that dude just stood there, like this, in the f------- clinch.
“Then he fought [Yuriorkis] Gamboa, who Gamboa has been dropped by everybody, with the exception of f------- Devin Haney because Devin Haney sucks. And then it goes on and he fights Leo Santa Cruz, a 122-pounder, a 118-pounder, 122, 126-pounder, so obviously a small dude. Then he goes on and fights f------- Barrios, a beyond weight-drained 140-pounder. Like he couldn’t even make 147. He was having a hard time making 147. And then, he goes and gets his ass beat by ‘Pitbull’ Cruz. And you tell me that that motherf------’s good? Oh, and all these motherf------- are slow!”
Davis went the distance for the first time in seven years when he beat Cruz by unanimous decision in their 12-rounder December 5 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Cruz (23-2-1, 16 KOs) ended Davis’ 16-fight knockout streak in their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event. Mexico City’s Cruz replaced Romero as Davis’ challenger late in October, when Romero was under investigation for an alleged sexual assault that didn’t result in charges being filed against him in Henderson, Nevada.
For all of Romero’s talk of knocking out Davis in the first round, Davis is listed by Caesars Sportsbook as an 8-1 favorite. Romero (14-0, 12 KOs) has heavy hands, but he has beaten a comparatively low level of opposition and hasn’t had his chin tested by a proven puncher at the championship level.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.