Still stunned by his first-round knockout loss to aged underdog Ismael Barroso, Ohara Davies tried to process how his championship dream was crushed so quickly as he sat in his dressing room Saturday night.
London’s Davies was listed by most sportsbooks as a 5-1 favorite to beat Barroso in their 12-round fight for the vacant WBA interim super lightweight title at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. Before Davies knew what hit him, however, he was down twice and stunningly upset by the heavy-handed, 40-year-old Venezuelan just 1:53 into the opening round.
“I just wanna say I’m sorry for the people that have faith in me, all of the fans, people [in England] that didn’t go to bed because they wanted to wait up and watch me become champion,” Davies stated in a video posted to FightHype.com’s YouTube channel. “It’s a fight that I saw myself winning. I done camp right, everyone done their job correctly. I made a mistake and I paid for it. I threw a good shot, I tried to rush in and I ended up getting caught.
“So, all I can say is that I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I didn’t see this coming. I don’t think anyone saw this coming. I just really gotta just chill now and just see because, you know, this isn’t how the script was meant to go. But listen, let’s just see about this, man. And I just wanted to say I’m sorry again to everyone.”
Barroso blasted Davies with a left hand that wobbled him and landed another left as Davies fell to the canvas 1:15 into their fight. Davies got up quickly, by the time referee Celestino Ruiz counted to four, yet their fight didn’t last much longer.
Barroso (25-4-2, 23 KOs) unleashed a flurry of punches as soon as the action continued. He seemed to land seven shots and Davies went down again with 1:24 on the clock in the first round.
Davies (25-3, 18 KOs) got up again, but Ruiz determined that he shouldn’t continue.
“Listen, I’ve watched the fight back and, listen, I made the mistake,” said Davies, whose only previous losses came against former undisputed 140-pound champ Josh Taylor and top contender Jack Catterall. “I rushed in when I shouldn’t have rushed in. I should’ve been a bit more patient, but you know, it was a mistake that I made and I paid for it. At this level, you can’t afford to make certain mistakes like I did. And I paid for it in a big way. My pride’s very hurt right now. You know, I thought I was going to go to bed being a champion.
“I planned to sleep with the belt tonight, wanted to take the belt to bed with me tonight and sleep with it. And then go back home and get the belt framed up on the wall in my flat. But, you know, this isn’t happening, so my pride’s very hurt right now. What can I do but just take some time off and then come back stronger? You know, this ain’t gonna be the end of me.”
The 31-year-old Davies recalled that legendary trainer Freddie Roach, former four-division champion Nonito Donaire and even Rolly Romero consoled him in the immediate aftermath of his devastating defeat.
Barroso’s victory earned the strong southpaw a second shot at Romero (15-1, 13 KOs), who recorded a controversial ninth-round, technical-knockout victory over him May 13 at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. The WBA ordered Romero, who was granted an injury exemption by the WBA last year, to fight the Barroso-Davies winner by March 20.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.