Rolando “Rolly” Romero was as bombastic as ever, despite coming up woefully short against Gervonta Davis. Although he vowed to separate his long-time rival from his consciousness, it was Romero who was left staring up at the ceiling lights.
His shortcomings, however, didn't appear to phase Romero, or so he claimed. In the immediate aftermath of his first career defeat, Romero believed that he would benefit greatly from moving up in weight. In his first fight at 140 pounds, Romero was set to challenge Alberto Puello for his WBA title. But, with just a few weeks remaining, Puello was busted for failing a drug test and was subsequently removed, stripped, and replaced with 40-year-old fringe contender, Ismael Barroso.
Seemingly served up on a silver platter, there was an overwhelming belief that Romero (15-1, 13 KOs) would take care of business with relative ease and begin his reign. Barroso, on the other hand, didn’t exactly follow the script.
With the long-faded contender scoring an early knockdown and leading on all three judges' scorecards, the majority of the boxing world was left dumbfounded when referee Tony Weeks issued one of the worst stoppages in recent memory. Although the controversial win netted Romero his first full title, Jorge Linares, who just so happened to be in attendance, was far from impressed with what he witnessed. While Romero talks the same, still issues the same outlandish threats, and can punch with the best of them, Linares concludes that in reality, something is now off.
“I think Rolly isn’t the same,” said Linares to BoxingScene.com recently. “His chin isn’t the same. His mentality isn’t the same.”
Linares, a 37-year-old former multiple divisional champion, wasn’t simply playing the role of a casual fan. As Romero swapped fists with his much older foe, the smile plastered on Linares’ face grew wider and wider. With the end of his pugilistic road edging closer and closer, the Venezuelan native is hopeful that Romero will decide to give him a call and give him a world title opportunity.
If the two sides were eventually able to work things out and square off in the center of the ring, Linares (47-8, 29 KOs) wholeheartedly believes that he has more than enough left in his gas tank to take Romero out before the sound of the final bell.
“Yea, why not,” continued Linares when asked if he has the power to stop Romero. “I don’t need too much power. If I have the timing to catch him, I can kill you.”