As he watched his lightweight peers spend the past several months calling one another out through Twitter and with little movement to come of it, Rolando ‘Rolly’ Romero found a more productive way to spend his downtime.
“Honestly, I bought a longboard and I’ve just been cruising down the Las Vegas strip ever since,” Romero insisted to BoxingScene.com. “That’s been so stress relieving. Other than [staying in shape] and that, it’s all that I’ve been doing.
“I’ve gone longboarding one time before in San Diego. I learned how to do it in five minutes. I haven’t done it in like a year and a half, but just said ‘Screw it.’ Everyone else is out there longboarding so I bought one and have just been enjoying myself.”
Romero (11-0, 10KOs) is among the fortunate ones to have actually fought at least once in 2020. It came on the undercard of Tyson Fury’s heavyweight championship-claiming 7th round stoppage of Deontay Wilder this past February in Las Vegas. Romero—whis promoted by Mayweather Promotions—did his part to entertain, scoring a 2nd round knockout of previously unbeaten Arturs Ahmetovs to extend his current streak of six straight fights ending inside the distance.
The bout took place roughly three weeks prior to the sport as a whole shutting down due to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. While other continue to struggle to adapt to ‘the new normal,’ Romero has tapped into what makes him tick well beyond the ropes.
“I’ve enjoyed this quarantine so much,” insists the 24-year old Las Vegas-based rising contender. “More than anything, when I wake up every morning I make it the best day of my life. To me, it just doesn’t matter. I just find ways to entertain myself. I’ve always played chess so I’ve been doing that when I can. I don’t work, I don’t do any of that stuff. I hate the idea of even having to work (other than boxing).
“To me, this has been three months of vacation. I’ve enjoyed myself, just trying new things. I wanted to try gaming but didn’t get around to that. I worked out a little bit but not to kill myself. More than anything, it gave my body time to rest in time to come back stronger than ever.”
Current plans call for the rising lightweight to return to the ring in August—“a really big opportunity” as Romero teased though stopping well short of revealing what’s in store. It won’t include calling other fighters in his division through social media, but rather showing in the ring just how much he’s been able to accomplish at a time when the world was supposed to be at a standstill.
“I’m really excited. The thing that separates me from most people is that I’m very patient. For me, this was a walk in the park for where I am now. 2-3 years ago, I was the most impatient person ever. I’ve learned to be patient. I started picking it up over the past year-and-a-half.
“This is just like chess. It’s all about the end game. With chess, you go center. Then you bring out your bishops and horses. Move the castle and attack. Once the end game comes up, you have two pawns against my king and pawn. You got to make every move precise. Maybe playing chess has helped calm me down.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox