By: Sean Crose
It had been just over a year since Rolando “Rolly” Romero had been in a boxing ring. Indeed, the man’s last fight had ended with Romero getting iced by none other than Gervonta Davis back in May of 2022. Returning to the ring for the first time since that defeat, Romero was gunning for the WBA world junior welterweight title on Saturday night in Las Vegas. His opponent was Venezuelan Ismael Barroso, an unheralded but very skilled veteran contender who appeared to recognize that he had the opportunity of a lifetime before him in the flashy American.
Romero fired his jab and kept out of range during the first while the southpaw Barroso pushed the action behind a jab of his own. Barroso went down from a slip in the second while Romero continued to try to keep out of range. The third saw Barroso drop Romero with a left in the final minute of the round. Romero got up but it was clear Barroso was able to reach his man and land effectively. With that being said, Romero had a strong fourth where his fists found their target. Barroso, though, was very game throughout.
The fifth was close, with moments where both men exchanged leather, though Barroso may have edged it. The sixth showed that it was time for Romero to let his hands go. He wasn’t doing poorly – he many have even been up on the cards – but he was being caught by his man to the body, as well as to the head. Romero was able to reverse that trend in the seventh thanks to some sharp punching of his own. Barroso’s body attach told the story of the eighth.
Romero pushed Barroso to the mat in the ninth, but it was counted as a knockdown. Barroso beat the count, but Romero started to really pile it on him. Barroso, however, was clearly not out of the action. Yet for some inexplicable reason, referee Tony Weeks stepped in and stopped the bout. Romero walked out of the ring with the WBA title courtesy of a very strange ruling by the referee. “He should have been able to keep going,” Romero said of Barroso after the match had ended.
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