LAS VEGAS – Ismael Barroso’s brute strength impressed Rolando “Rolly” Romero.
The newly crowned WBA super lightweight champion praised Barroso after his controversial ninth-round, technical-knockout win Saturday night at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Romero revealed that Barroso is a harder puncher than Gervonta Davis, who knocked out Romero in the sixth round of his previous bout, and that referee Tony Weeks should’ve allowed the dangerous Venezuelan contender to continue in the ninth round.
Barroso (24-4-2, 22 KOs) didn’t seem nearly as impressed by Romero (15-1, 13 KOs) after his dubious defeat in their “Showtime Championship Boxing” main event.
“I thought Romero was a fighter that was at a higher level, that was more powerful,” Barroso told a group of reporters. “But when I felt his punches, I didn’t really feel them at all. So, in the end, I felt like I was going toe-to-toe with him.”
The 40-year-old Barroso sent Romero to the canvas with a left hand in the third round. North Las Vegas’ Romero, whose glove touched the canvas as he fell into the ropes, got to his feet very quickly.
He mostly tried to box Barroso after suffering that flash knockdown. In the ninth round, however, Romero caught Barroso with a left hook that hurt him.
A couple seconds later, Romero pushed Barroso to the canvas. Referee Tony Weeks didn’t acknowledge Romero’s infraction and counted it as a knockdown.
Weeks weirdly stopped their 12-round, 140-pound title fight later in the ninth round, despite that Barroso remained on his feet and had thrown punches back at Romero. Barroso eluded most of Romero’s punches during the sequence that led to Weeks’ strange stoppage at 2:41 of the ninth round.
Barroso’s handlers intend to file a protest with the Nevada State Athletic Commission. They’ll also petition the WBA for an immediate rematch.
Barroso told BoxingScene.com that he doesn’t expect Romero to accept a rematch because Romero won’t want to deal with his power again. Romero repeatedly said that he wants to fight Ryan Garcia (23-1, 19 KOs) in his first title defense.
If Romero and Barroso were to fight again, Barroso believes he would handle Romero’s power much better than Romero could deal with his strength.
“I honestly thought that he had more power, that he was stronger,” Barroso said. “I’ve fought stronger fighters than him.”
The 28-year-old Romero entered the ring as a 10-1 favorite, but Barroso showed why Romero was so respectful of his power while promoting their fight for the vacant WBA 140-pound crown. Barroso also led on the scorecards of judges Steve Weisfeld (78-73), David Sutherland (77-74) and Tim Cheatham (76-75) entering the ninth round.
“I thought I was winning every single round,” Barroso said. “I felt really good. But then again, it’s the ref that has the power to make that kind of decision. All I can hope for now is to get the rematch and show what I’m worth once again.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.