Outside of the heavyweight and welterweight divisions, one of the weight classes always subject to heavy debates is lightweight. There has been a great deal of criticism that has been given to the highest profile lightweight fighters as they have been circling each other instead of fighting one another.
This was amplified even more when some suggested that Gervonta Davis, Ryan Garcia, Teofimo Lopez and Devin Haney are the new four kings of the sport. “Four Kings,” the title given to the revered fistic royalty, Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran and Tommy Hearns.
Then we have the WBA “interim” lightweight champion, Rolando “Rolly” Romero (14-0). Romero wants to fight the Davises and Haneys of the world. But in these current times, it seems that the word “marinate” interferes with these fights getting done.
Romero is coming off of a knockout victory over Anthony Yigit (24-1-1), who was not only a last minute replacement but who also came in five pounds over the lightweight limit of 135 pounds. Be as it may, “Rolly” went on with the fight, which took place on July 17th as part of the Charlo vs Castano card.
They say styles make fights and if that’s the case, well, the styles didn’t mesh to give fans a classic treat.
Romero went on to knock down Yigit three times before picking up the TKO victory in seven rounds. While describing the fight, Romero said, ”To be honest, on TV, it didn’t look like I was having a hard time but he was a difficult and awkward fighter. People saw that his trainer literally told him to hold me. It’s hard to fight someone that does not want to fight. He was holding me, so I kept pushing him off of me.”
Shortly after the victory, which was, again, heavily criticized within the twittersphere, Romero called out WBA champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis, who holds titles from 130-140.
This made sense to me as Floyd Mayweather mentioned in the Davis post fight press conference that there were plenty of options within the PBC/Mayweather Promotions talent pool.
In a phone chat, I asked Rolly Romero about Davis, and Rolly confidently said, “Who the hell is Tank going to fight? Isn’t everything supposed to be in house now? So who the fuck is Tank supposed to fight on PPV that will sell the PPV? No one is going to sell a PPV like me, so from a business standpoint, it makes sense. But does Gervonta Davis have the balls to fight me?”
He has a point or two..and as much as some won’t want to admit it, a fight between Romero and Davis has the ingredients for an interesting promotion leading up to the event and in the fight itself.
“What’s the point of me moving to 140? There is no one to fight there. I’m not going to fight Josh Taylor because he is with Top Rank. I want bigger fish and the only other person with a belt in that division is Gervonta Davis,” Romero said when I asked about a move to Super Lightweight.
Understanding the politics and landscape, Romero knows that there isn’t a likelihood of getting a Josh Taylor fight, so the Gervonta fight makes more sense to him.
There is also the WBC Lightweight Champion Devin Haney, who is available and is a network free agent.
Recently, Haney’s father Bill was on “Tha Boxing Voice” podcast, where he mentioned that his son texted Floyd Mayweather to inquire about the Romero fight. When I mentioned this to Romero, he replied, “Haney’s dad is the biggest liar in boxing.”
He then added, “Devin Haney always talks out of his ass. Don’t even pay him any attention. He calls out everybody but doesn’t fight anyone. Haney is literally irrelevant. How many times has Haney called someone out and nothing happens? But Haney is the most feared boxer in the sport? He has no power and no chin. He was literally gifted a belt, like, ‘Can you send me a belt? Thanks.” That’s what literally happened.”
After pausing for a brief moment, Romero said that he doesn’t see Haney as the real champion. That title, he feels, is held by his friend Teofimo Lopez.
Romero has a lot of respect for Teofimo and had this to say: “I can’t say anything bad about Teofimo as he beat two real legit world champions. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t say anything bad about Teo. He beat the boogeyman of the division and a monstrous puncher. Devin Haney is a joke and literally at the bottom of the food chain. At least I won my shit in the ring.”
Moving on to discussing the sport of boxing, Romero tends to display his frustrations on his Instagram account. He’s not the only one, as the sport isn't a perfect one. On the topic of boxing as a sport, he said, “Boxing is a fucked-up sport but I’m happy it’s not as fucked-up for me. I’m not saying anything bad happened to me because I have a great team around me. I have the best team in boxing, with Al Haymon and my manager Luis DeCubas Jr. Luis is a great manager and knows what he is doing. It’s just a fucked-up sport.”
As boxing tends to get him frustrated at times, Rolly does enjoy other things to keep his mind in shake, like photography, something you wouldn’t expect from the 25 year old, who has a growing rep as an outspoken athlete, a guy people love, or hate.
There is a certain level of patience and technique that is required with photography and it looks as though it’s therapeutic for him. “I do genuinely enjoy taking pictures,” Romero said. “It’s finding the right subject to take pictures of. I don’t enjoy shooting every fighter. You have to genuinely enjoy shooting the person you are shooting, if not you’ll get a bunch of half ass pictures.”
Picture taking whether professionally or with your phone is something that has become part of pop culture. Pictures and videos have also become a business, whether promoting yourself or someone else.
A controversial but profitable application titled “Only Fans” launched in 2016.
While some use it for XXX content, others use it to provide exclusive content not featuring nudity.
Romero, who isn’t afraid to dabble into controversy, created an account, and no, I didn’t check out the material.
Rolly had this to say about it. “I just wanted to have fun. I’m making great money whether on Only Fans or boxing. I live the best life ever. I literally do whatever I want, whenever I want and nobody ever tells me shit.”
Finally, towards the end of the call, I asked if there was anything he wanted to say to his fans and to the naysayers.
Rolly Romero answered like this: “Subscribe to my Only Fans!”
My Three Cents: Rolando Romero is a fighter who isn’t going to “wow” you with his style. But he is INTERESTING, he speaks his mind, and without fear.
He doesn’t get style points in the ring, but among what he can do is two things: throw with power and take punches. He reminds me of Deontay Wilder, as Rolly can be behind on the scorecards but his power keeps him in the fight. The question is, how will Rolly fare against the likes of a Gervonta Davis? No one knows for sure, but I do like to see that there is a fighter that is looking to find out.
Let’s hope we get to see Rolly fight Tank in October. If not, give me that Romero vs Haney fight! That’s a solid fight that may require additional security at the pressers and weigh-ins.
Either way, Romero will play the “heel” role and make you tune into the fight, whether against Tank or Haney.