NEW YORK – Gervonta Davis didn’t land many punches on Rolando Romero during their fight Saturday night.
All it took, though, was one well-placed, counter left hand from Davis to abruptly end what had developed into a competitive, dangerous fight for the unbeaten Baltimore native.
Davis drilled Romero with that punishing punch as Romero attempted to hit him with a right hand late in the sixth round at a sold-out Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Romero fell into the ropes face-first and then to the canvas.
Romero reached his feet in time to beat referee David Fields’ count, but Fields stopped their scheduled 12-round lightweight title bout at 2:49 of the sixth round because he didn’t like the way Romero responded to his commands. North Las Vegas’ Romero (14-1, 12 KOs) still looked disoriented as he was led out of the ring and toward his dressing room.
“The crazy thing is I didn’t even throw it that hard,” Davis told Showtime’s Jim Gray in the ring. “I just threw it. He just ran right into it. Something like when Pacquiao got caught by what’s his name?”
Davis referred to Juan Manuel Marquez’s picture-perfect, sixth-round knockout of Pacquiao in December 2012 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Nine-and-a-half years later, the 27-year-old Davis (27-0, 25 KOs) retained his secondary WBA lightweight title by winning a fight he entered as an 8-1 favorite.
Before Davis drilled him with the stunning shot that ended their fight, Romero made the undefeated Davis respect his power. Romero forced Davis to hold him several times in the first five rounds of the main event of this Showtime Pay-Per-View card.
Romero led 48-47 on one scorecard entering the sixth round. Davis was ahead on two cards, 49-46 and 48-47, through five rounds.
According to CompuBox’s unofficial statistics, Davis landed only 25-of-84 punches overall, including 20-of-58 power punches. CompuBox credited Romero for connecting on 22-of-115 punches overall, including 19-of-76 power shots.
Romero, 26, entered their bout unbeaten, but he hadn’t fought a puncher like Davis. His 12-round, unanimous-decision victory over Jackson Marinez in August 2020 also was considered controversial because Marinez appeared to outbox Romero in a fight Showtime televised from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
In the round before Davis scored his knockout, he countered Romero with a left with just over two minutes remaining in the fifth round. He landed another left hand less than 10 seconds later.
Romero caught Davis with a right hand late in the fifth round, which made Davis hold him until Romero planted his forearm across Davis’ neck. Fields separated them and the fifth round ended soon thereafter.
Davis lunged forward and landed a left hand approximately 1:15 into the fourth round.
Davis was careful in the first half of the third round and clearly respected Romero’s power by that point. Romero landed a clean left hook in the first half of the third round, before Davis countered him with a left hand up top after Romero tried to jab him to the body.
Romero landed a right hand that made Davis grab him about 1:20 into the second round. Davis eventually went to the canvas, but Fields ruled that Romero flung him to the canvas.
Davis regained his composure over the next minute, however, and landed a straight left with just under 30 seconds remaining in the second round.
Romero promised a first-round knockout throughout the promotion of their rescheduled bout, but he couldn’t catch Davis with a clean power punch until he landed a right hand just before the opening round ended. Davis took that punch well and talked trash to Romero as Romero walked back to his corner.
Davis and Romero initially were scheduled to fight December 5 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Isaac Cruz replaced Romero as Davis’ opponent late in October because a woman with whom Romero was acquainted accused him of sexually assaulting her at some point in the fall of 2019. The Davis-Romero match was rescheduled once detectives for the Henderson (Nevada) Police Department investigated the alleged assault and declined to pursue charges against Romero.
Davis defeated Cruz by unanimous decision, but Cruz made Davis go 12 rounds for the first time in his career and ended his 16-fight knockout streak. Though Davis won on all three scorecards (116-112, 115-113, 115-113), his fight with Cruz was considered the toughest of Davis’ nine-year pro career.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.