Following his stoppage win last night over Anthony Yigit on Showtime, lightweight prospect Rolando Romero came to a conclusion: It’s time for him to go up to the 140 lb division.
“I need to go to 140. It’s my natural weight class. I feel I’ll be a lot stronger,” Romero said after all was said and done. “I was at 135 for, what, four years now? It’s about time I move up.”
The bigger statement, however, was something Romero (14-0, 12 KO) said in the ring to Jim Gray.
“I want Gervonta Davis at 140. I want him at 140,” he said. “I’m gonna stop him. I’m gonna knock him out. I know what he can do, but I know what I can do, I’m a lot stronger.”
The 25-year-old “Rolly” would be taking a massive step up in terms of opposition skill. Davis (25-0, 24 KO) is a lot more dynamic a fighter — and far more dangerous — than the likes of Anthony Yigit, Avery Sparrow, and Jackson Marinez, and most everyone felt Marinez deserved the win over Romero when they met in 2020, anyway. (The WBA, which handed Romero an interim lightweight title that had no reason to exist, “considered” but then predictably ignored the idea of a rematch order.)
Davis, 26, is small for 140 lbs. Though he beat Mario Barrios at the weight to win the WBA’s fake “world” title on June 26, he definitely had some trouble in the fight, and even though Romero would be coming up from 135, he’s absolutely a naturally bigger guy than Tank.
The other thing to consider, and probably the most important, is whether or not Mayweather Promotions would want to make this fight. In theory, they can do it very easily, both guys are with the same team, both have been featured on Showtime, it’s not a hard fight to make. But the want to is what matters here.
On paper, maybe they wouldn’t. Romero is a possible rising star, after all, and Davis has already become a boxing star, a Showtime pay-per-view player who isn’t exactly selling prime Floyd numbers, but does plenty well enough to keep him behind a paywall going forward.
The right opponents are needed, though. Davis’ ability to float between 135 and 140 as needed — and maybe even 130 again if anything came up there — is helpful, but even still, there are only so many opponents for an A-level production PPV fight.
Romero could fit the bill, but will Mayweather Promotions want to potentially sacrifice his “0” this early?
That’s one question, but here’s another: Do Mayweather Promotions actually see Romero as a long-term star?
The Marinez fight put a lot of doubt into a lot of minds about Romero’s ultimate upside, and while he was sharp and dominant against Sparrow in January, he was wilder, not as effective, and kind of clumsy while overpowering Yigit on Saturday. There is a rawness to his game, and while 25 certainly isn’t old, it’s also not 20.
If Floyd Mayweather, Leonard Ellerbe, and the rest of the team over at Mayweather Promotions see Romero as someone who’s likely to lose in a non-star type of fight — as he should have against Marinez — they could easily figure this is actually the best time to feed him to a guy they’re much more confident in with Tank Davis.
After all, Romero is brash, has a style that can be exciting, big power, talks trash willingly and often. You can sell this guy as a B-side every bit as much as you can most anyone who will be available.
There’s no easy answer here, and it depends mostly on what the managers and promoters truly believe they have in Rolly Romero. If they see him as someone who can be box office for years, they’re not going to do it. If they quietly do not believe that to be the case, yeah, he might be the right guy to feed to Davis next.