Rolando Romero sent out a reminder of his fearsome power and is now eyeing some money-spinning bouts and a move up in weight.
Romero (14-0, 12 KOs) vowed a swift, first round blowout of Anthony Yigit and despite not being able to deliver on that promise, ‘Rolly’ did secure a seventh round stoppage win at the AT & T Center on the undercard of Jermell Charlo’s draw with Brian Castano on Saturday night.
It was scrappy and wild in parts with the 25-year-old deducted a point in the fifth round after punching on the break in a round he closed off with a knockdown right on the bell.
Two further knockdowns in the seventh round, including a devastating left hook which sent Yigit crashing to the canvas for a second time in the round prompted referee Rafael Ramos’ intervention.
It was an impressive victory for the Las Vegas resident, beating a former world title challenger and retaining his WBA interim Lightweight title for a second time.
Moreover, it was the second consecutive time that Romero has had to contend with an opponent missing weight, after Yigit weighed in over five pounds over the 135lbs limit and was thus unable to challenge for the belt.
In his last outing, his scheduled opponent, Justin Pauldo was also over the limit and was replaced with Avery Sparrow.
“I won’t rate my performance but I got a vicious knockout and I hurt him multiple times in the fight. Every time I landed something, I hurt him,” said Romero post-fight to SHOWTIME.
“The European style is always awkward and he was a bigger dude. He’s a 140-pounder. If I had those extra five pounds, I would have got him out of there earlier.”
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Despite being on the verge of a world title shot at 135lbs, ‘Rolly’ revealed it was the time for him to move up in weight noting: “I need to go to 140. It’s my natural weight class. I feel I’ll be a lot stronger. I was at 135 for, what, four years now? It’s about time I move up.”
So, who could his next challenge be against?
Romero once again called for a showdown with three-weight world champion, Gervonta Davis.
“I want Gervonta Davis at 140 (pounds),” Romero said to SHOWTIME’s Jim Gray.
“I want him at 140. Time to stop him. I’m gonna knock him out. I know it is [realistic]. I know what he can do, but I know what I can do. I’m a lot stronger.”
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Davis (25-0, 24 KOs) holds the WBA ‘Regular’ title at 140lbs after moving up in weight to stop Mario Barrios in 11 rounds last month.
The pair are signed to the same promotional team in Mayweather Promotions and Floyd Mayweather Jr made it clear in the aftermath of his charge’s victory over Barrios that the plan was for ‘Tank’ to face fighters signed with his company or with Premier Boxing Champions.
A fight would thus seem relatively straightforward to make and could realistically take place at Lightweight if Davis decides to drop back down to 135lbs where he is the WBA ‘Regular’ champion.
However, would Mayweather be willing to pit two of his rising stars together at this stage of their respective careers? ‘Tank’ is only 26-years-old and the Hall of Famer may believe there is room for the fight to marinate and become even more lucrative.
Stylistically, it is a thrilling prospect with two hard-hitting, undefeated Americans, who have knockout power in both fists, with ‘Rolly’ going the distance twice, whilst his compatriot has been to points just once in a 25-fight career.
Romero is also looking to settle a long-running feud with another rival in Devin Haney.
Haney (26-0, 15 KOs) successfully defended his WBC Lightweight world title, weathering a late storm from Jorge Linares to claim a unanimous decision in May, a performance Romero was left unimpressed by.
‘The Dream’ had his say on social media following his rival’s victory over Yigit, posting on Twitter: “Rolly is a pile of s***!”
Rolly is a pile of shit! 😭
— Devin Haney (@Realdevinhaney) July 18, 2021
To which ‘Rolly’ responded in his post-fight press conference, saying: “I’ll fight Devin Haney.
“He’s chinny as hell, he got hurt with venom gloves [against Linares]. That’s a joke and not even just get hurt he didn’t recover.
“It was like four rounds that he didn’t recover. So like I said, Linares is nowhere near a puncher like me.
Rolly Romero responds to Devin Haney describing him as “a pile of s***” by calling him “the Amir Khan of 135lbs”…
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) July 18, 2021
“Haney, I feel bad he’s probably the chinniest fighter at 135, if not one of the most chinniest in the sport. He’s the Amir Khan of 135.”
Haney has a mandatory due in Joseph Diaz Jr and has voiced his desire for a fight with undisputed champion, Teofimo Lopez and thus a meeting will have to wait and could realistically take place if both move up to Super Lightweight.
A future showdown, however appears easier to make now that the 22-year-old is a network free agent after not resigning with DAZN, with his rival operating on SHOWTIME and FOX, although they are with different promoters, with Haney aligned with Matchroom Boxing.
Sounds like you’re the one back pedaling… you’re my mandatory… the fight should b easy to make! https://t.co/a4NRNCq2bK
— Devin Haney (@Realdevinhaney) July 15, 2021
‘The Dream’ is arguably the slickest fighter at 135lbs, making for an intriguing style match-up with an offensive fighter like Romero.
With Romero looking to move up in weight, a fight with Sergey Lipinets could be an attractive proposition.
Lipinets, a former IBF Super Lightweight world champion was stopped for the first time in his career against rising Welterweight contender, Jaron Ennis in April.
The 32-year-old is set to drop back down to 140lbs, his manager confirmed to ES News therefore opening the door to a potential clash with ‘Rolly’.
‘Samurai’ seems a more naturally-suited Super Lightweight, with his only other defeat coming on points to Mikey Garcia in 2018, where he was relieved of his world title, although he has not had to cut to the weight limit since.
A potential meeting would see two power punchers lock horns and would appear to make sense for both.
For Romero it would give him the opportunity make a statement in a new division by beating a former recognised champion and for Lipinets (16-2-1, 12 KOs) to return in a fight which can catapult himself back towards the top names of the division, by overcoming a burgeoning talent.
A deal would also seem attainable with Lipinets with PBC and fighting on the same networks as Romero, thus ruling out any political obstacles.