The thunderous pops reverberated through the Mayweather Boxing Club last Tuesday, forcing onlookers to literally raise their eyebrows while Rolando Romero pummeled the leather mitts attached to Cromwell Gordon’s hands. The burgeoning trainer would call for more and the unbeaten lightweight would respond by punching harder.
And thereby louder. And louder. And louder.
“I feel like I’m starting to get my grown man strength,” said Romero, already one of the division’s biggest punchers. “I’m getting a lot stronger every day. I’m still nowhere near my peak.”
We’ll see about that Saturday.
Romero is finally fighting lightweight superstar Gervonta “Tank” Davis. After five years of callouts, a five-month delay and the most critical training camp of his career to date. He’s the mandatory challenger for Davis’ secondary WBA 135-pound title, and they’ll battle Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on a Showtime pay-per-view card presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
The 26-year-old Las Vegas native was actually was supposed to fight Davis in December, but the fight was delayed because Romero was accused of sexual assault. Henderson police investigated the accusation and did not charge Romero, clearing him for the fight of his life.
“One round, I’m knocking him out. If I say I’m going to do it, then I’m going to do it,” Romero said. “He’s going to get knocked out by the first punch that he eats. He’s going to run right into something.”
Romero (14-0, 12 knockouts) doesn’t lack for confidence. That much is clear so far in his career. He may be the most prolific trash talker in boxing, equipped with a snarky quip, comeback or insult for seemingly every conversation involving the 27-year-old Davis (26-0, 24 KOs) — or any other potential opponent within the lightweight division.
He has disliked the Baltimore native for several years, claiming he was stiffed twice by Davis when they’d previously agreed to spar. Nearly every comment he makes about Davis includes an expletive and demeans his size and intelligence.
Romero has maintained throughout the promotion that he plans to knock Davis out in the first round. A daring prediction, considering he hasn’t yet faced a single world champion. That’s beyond the fact he not faced anybody the ilk of Davis, a three-division champion who too doubles as one of boxing’s biggest punchers and stars.
Davis and Romero share a promoter in Mayweather Promotions president Leonard Ellerbe, though Davis’ contract expires Saturday. Ellerbe said the bad blood between the two fighters makes their fight “that much more exciting.”
It resurfaced again at the weigh-in on Friday when Davis pushed Romero off the stage after completing their final face-off.
“These guys (expletive) don’t like each other. It’s as real as it gets. I guarantee this fight is going to end in a knockout,” Ellerbe said. “(Romero) has talked the talk. Now he’s got to walk the walk. It’s going to be him and Tank in the ring Saturday night … and they’re going to get at it.”
Contact Sam Gordon at email@example.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.