NEW YORK – Gervonta Davis craves a clean knockout Saturday night, just to finally silence Rolando Romero.
The heavily favored Davis has a feeling, though, that Romero’s head trainer, Cromwell “Bullet” Gordon, is going to throw in the towel at some point of a fight Davis envisions devolving into a brutal beating. Winning either way would be gratifying for Davis (26-0, 24 KOs), who admitted after a press conference Thursday in Brooklyn that Romero’s incessant, disrespectful trash talk has motivated him more than usual to do damage to his opponent in this Showtime Pay-Per-View main event at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“I visualize breaking him down, breaking him down, like really breaking him down,” Davis told a group of reporters. “Even if I don’t get the knockout, I wanna beat him from the first round to 12. Or make him quit on his stool. I think his coach gonna like stop it. I think like he gonna throw in the towel. I think so, because he gonna take too much bad of a punishment.”
The brash Romero has stuck to his longstanding prediction – a first-round knockout of one of boxing’s most punishing punchers. The taller Romero is a puncher himself (14-0, 12 KOs), but his rival represents an obvious leap up in class.
Davis exchanged words with Romero at times Thursday, but he mostly smiled, remained calm and laughed off what were often crass comments made by his provocative opponent. That would not have happened, according to Davis, had they fought December 5 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“I’m glad that we fought now and not before, because I was too mad,” Davis said. “I was a little angry, but now it’s like I had to, you know what I mean? I had to learn that it’s just part of the game.”
Romero visibly irritated Davis during their initial press conference, which occurred October 21 in Los Angeles. Mayweather Promotions, Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions and Showtime removed Romero from that pay-per-view event less than 10 days later because a woman with whom he was acquainted accused Romero of sexually assaulting her at some point in the fall of 2019.
Police detectives in Henderson, Nevada investigated her allegation, but charges were not filed against Romero and the case was closed. His exoneration enabled the aforementioned companies to reschedule their fight.
Isaac Cruz, Romero’s replacement December 5, gave Davis the most difficult fight of his nine-year pro career. Mexico City’s Cruz (23-2-1, 16 KOs) became the first fighter to take Davis 12 rounds and ended his 16-fight knockout streak.
Davis, a southpaw who aggravated an existing injury to his left hand early in his fight with Cruz, won that bout by unanimous decision (116-112, 115-113, 115-113).
Baltimore’s Davis, 27, is confident he’ll begin another knockout streak against the rugged Romero, whose unconventional style and raw power make him a dangerous underdog. After all the trash talk, an extremely motivated Davis can’t wait to show what separates them in their 12-round fight for Davis’ WBA world lightweight title.
“I mean, it make me wanna like beat him up more,” Davis said. “But like in a good way, though, to show him that this ain’t really what you want.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.