Ismael Barroso made sure to get right to the point in a second chance opportunity he wasn’t sure would come his way.
The newly crowned interim WBA junior welterweight titlist instantly emerged as a cult favorite following his first-round knockout of heavily favored contender Ohara Davies. Their January 6 DAZN-aired co-feature from Virgin Hotels Las Vegas came about only after Rolando ‘Rolly’ Romero (15-1, 13KOs) was unable to honor his mandatory title defense versus Davies due to injury.
“It was justice that we were given this opportunity,” Barroso told BoxingScene.com. “This was a very important fight for my career and my team.”
Barroso (25-4-2, 23KOs) was previously denied the full WBA 140-pound title when he was the victim of a horribly called ninth-round stoppage to Romero last May 13 at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Romero trailed on all three scorecards through eight rounds but was credited with a phantom knockdown and a highly controversial stoppage call by now beleaguered referee Tony Weeks.
Romero has not fought since, but was granted an injury exception. The WBA agreed in the same ruling to offer a one-time exception to resurrect its interim title status for the ordered Davies-Barroso matchup.
“We as a team pushed for this fight,” Melvin ‘Chico’ Rivas, Barroso’s assistant trainer and renowned matchmaker told Boxing Scene. “The Rolly fight was an injustice. So, this was the right thing to do when Rolly got injured and couldn’t defend his title. It was either this, or we were going to make a lot of noise.”
Barroso was grateful for the effort put forth by his team to help breathe new life into his career. The 40-year-old southpaw from Miami by way of El Tigre, Venezuela made sure to emphatically reward their efforts with his performance.
“It was a very important fight,” noted Barroso. “Coming off a loss that never should have been a loss, at my age it hurts. That was my long overdue shot at the title and I should have entered the ring as the champion.
“The last fight versus Rolly, I was winning and they stopped the fight when I wasn’t even getting hit.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. X (formerly Twitter): @JakeNDaBox