Although Saturday’s Showtime Boxing main event wasn’t at the top of the most anticipated list, there was a level of intrigue going into the fight. Rolando ‘Rolly’ Romero (15-1, 13 KOs) was coming off of a loss to Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis, and many wondered if he could get back on track, but this time at super lightweight. His original opponent, Alberto Puello (21-0, 10 KOs), popped for a banned substance, so he was left facing 40-year-old Ismael Barroso (24-4-2, 22 KOs). Many discounted Barroso right away, but he was able to stand his ground and land a clean straight left hand, sending Romero down to the canvas for the fight’s first knockdown. After getting up, Romero was too cautious and barely threw any offense.
Fast forward to the ninth round, where we were in for a treat. Romero landed a right punch but simultaneously pushed Barroso down, which counted as a knockdown. After Barroso got up, since he wasn’t hurt, Romero tried to jump on him but wasn’t landing anything. Then referee Tony Weeks decided to jump in and stop the fight. Everyone in the arena and at home watching was shocked, to say the least that the fight ended in such a manner. Weeks or the Nevada State Athletic Commission decided not to comment on the situation and quickly jetted out of there.
WOW 👀— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) May 14, 2023
Referee Tony Weeks stops the fight and @SignUp4KOs scores a TKO victory over Barroso to become the new WBA Super Lightweight champ 🏆 #RomeroBarroso pic.twitter.com/SseQxDNoQu
While all of this is fresh on the minds of everyone, let’s take a look at some potential opponents for Rolando ‘Rolly’ Romero.
REMATCH WITH ISMAEL BARROSO?
A rematch with Barroso seems logical, as everyone on social media was screaming all weekend about how bad of a stoppage it was. There was also a call for referee Tony Weeks to retire as there could not be any reason why he needed to pull the plug on the fight at that moment. Barroso was also up on all three scorecards, and it looked as though he was on his way to a decision victory if the fight kept the same rhythm for the next three rounds. Romero won’t hear the end of it, and he may not have a choice but to give Barroso the rematch. Even the President of Showtime Sports, Stephen Espinoza, weighed in on the bad stoppage. This one will sting for a bit, but they can do what boxing typically does with things like this, wait it out and move on to the next fight.
Should a rematch be in store after last night's contentious stoppage? ⬇️#RomeroBarroso pic.twitter.com/LXrZABLcKR— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) May 14, 2023
Ryan Garcia (23-1, 19 KOs) is an interesting choice, and throughout fight week, Romero was calling for that fight naming it the next big PPV. I don’t see Garcia going straight into a fight with Romero unless GBP & DAZN are looking to cash out. I think Garcia gets a guy like Mercito Gesta (34-3-3, 17 KOs) next, which will help build his confidence. A fight with Romero would definitely attract casuals as they have history, and both were knocked out by ‘Tank.’ It’s a fight that could be a big event but more than likely in 2024 and not this year.
WOW— RYAN GARCIA (@RyanGarcia) May 14, 2023
THAT WAS DIRTY
WAY TO EARLY #RomeroVsBarroso
GERVONTA ‘TANK’ DAVIS REMATCH?
A fight with ‘Tank’ Davis (29-0, 27 KOs) isn’t out of the realm of possibilities, as Romero had success in that fight right up to the point where he fell asleep at the wheel. Davis is currently on house arrest for the next 90 days, and the rest of the year hasn’t been discussed as of yet. More than likely, Davis goes for Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz as he felt he could have done better if it wasn’t for his hand getting damaged early in that fight. If the Cruz fight doesn’t happen, the rematch with Romero is certainly the next best option for Davis to finish the year.
𝐎𝐧𝐞 𝐟𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭. 𝐅𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐛𝐞𝐥𝐭𝐬.— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) May 13, 2023
🎬 Blood, Sweat And Tears: Haney vs Loma Pt. 2
TODAY | 12PM ET | ESPNEWS pic.twitter.com/hXvcIDQBmJ
Although Devin Haney (29-0, 15 KOs) has his hands full with Saturday’s matchup against Vasiliy Lomachenko (17-2, 11 KOs), a fight between Haney and Romero next isn’t a bad idea. Haney can go up to 140 lbs at any moment and as soon as the results are known for Saturday’s fight. What better way to get into the super lightweight division than to face Romero for the WBA title? That’s certainly a move that would interest Haney as he continues to keep legacy over money at this point in his career. All eyes will be on Saturday’s ESPN+ PPV and what is said after the fight. This is Haney’s last fight with Top Rank, so he will have the flexibility to fight elsewhere.
May 14, 2023
Lastly, WBC champ Regis Prograis (28-1, 24 KOs) is an option, as that will be a unification fight if he were to step into the ring with Romero later this year. Prograis first has to get by undefeated Liam Paro (23-0, 14 KOs) on June 17th before he can start looking at trying to obtain other titles. A fight between Prograis and Romero would be entertaining, and one that fight fans wouldn’t mind seeing. I don’t know the details of Prograis’ deal with Matchroom Boxing, but seeing that it’s a co-promotion one, it may give him the flexibility to fight with other promotional companies if necessary.
These are all solid options for Romero, but ultimately, it will be up to him, his team, and the WBA to figure out what will be next for the 28-year-old champion. Whichever option they go with, one thing is for sure, everyone will be tuning in to see what happens.