The jokes basically wrote themselves when Rolando “Rolly” Romero took on Ismael Barroso.
On paper, it looked like an outrageous mismatch. Romero (15-1, 13 KOs) was seemingly in the heart of his prime, incredibly strong, and a whole lot younger than Barroso. The vacant WBA super lightweight title was on the line and Romero desperately wanted to wipe away the stench of a knockout loss to Gervonta Davis. Yet, once the bright lights turned on and the opening bell rang, Barroso began putting it on him.
It took the 40-year-old just a few minutes to earn Romero’s respect. After dropping him early, he fought cautiously. Wide-eyed and a bit unnerved, Romero took no chances and simply waited for the perfect opportunity. That eventually came in the ninth. Still, while referee Tony Weeks stepped in and waved things off, it was a controversial decision.
Romero skated out of the ring that night with his newly won title and a bright smile on his face. Barroso, in the meanwhile, was apoplectic. He was somewhat placated though, when the WBA sanctioning body allowed him to fight for their interim strap against Ohara Davies. In just one round, Barroso got rid of his man, taking home the secondary title.
Currently, Romero is replaying the night that he took on Barroso in his mind. Of course, when taking a hard look at his resume, Davis appears to be the hardest-hitting fighter Romero has ever faced.
Known as a deleterious knockout artist, Davis has given all but two of his opponents a trip to the emergency room. Romero was also on the wrong end of a knockout but that doesn’t mean Davis is some gigantic puncher. When recently surrounded by a group of reporters and asked to give his thoughts on who hits harder between Barroso and Davis, Romero made it clear that the old veteran is in a league of his own when it comes to power.
“By far, by far.”