Rolando Romero claims WBA Title via TKO

Rolando Romero captured his first world title last night with a controversial ninth round technical knockout of Ismael Barroso. This fight was altogether unsatisfying as a last minute replacement was brought in following title holder Alberto Puello’s positive test for performance enhancing drugs. Despite the vast criticism of Barroso for looking sixty-five years old in the poster picture; he was rated number one by the WBA and was on a four fight winning streak going back to 2019. Barroso is also a heavy handed fighter with twenty-two knockouts in his twenty-four victories and has scored a knockdown in all four of his losses including last night. The victory may have crowned Romero as a title holder but it was not a career day.

The fight began as a very passive affair as the two punchers were reluctant to engage. The first two rounds saw both remaining at range trying to counter and not over commit. Romero was dropped by a left hand from the southpaw Barroso and rose to his feet and survived the short time remaining in the round. Barroso came out for the fourth round cautiously and let Romero off the hook from the damage done in the previous round. Barroso continued to press forward as Romero used his young legs to move around and use the entire real estate of the ring to avoid exchanges. The crowd boo’d several times throughout while still trying to cheer on the hometown Romero fighting in his backyard of Las Vegas. Barroso had a one trick pony approach of stepping in and telegraphing either a wide left to the body or a straight left to the head. Romero’s strategy was to time and counter a right down the middle, throw a hard upper inside or use a check left hook counter. The forty-year old Barroso who everyone had ruled out dropped Romero and led on all three scorecards going into the ninth round.

Romero came to life in the ninth round as he stood his ground more and began to unload. Barroso was rocked by a right hand but then was shoved to the canvas with a push. Barroso rose to his feet but it appeared all momentum had faded away. Trapped on the ropes, Barroso was still defending himself and looking to counter. A four or five punch series prompted referee Tony Weeks to intervene and wave off the contest despite one of the shots landing and not landing cleanly. Barroso could do nothing but laugh and smirk as Weeks wrapped him in his arms. In summary, the fight was boring and once the action got interesting, Weeks mysteriously jumped the gun and called it off. Romero was robbed of a chance to get a legitimate and eye-catching victory. Now all observers are talking about the fact he was behind and needed a horrible call by the referee to win a paper title.

My gripe as a boxing writer with the event is the multi-faceted angle of this event. I do not feel Rolly was deserving of the title fight in the first place. He was a relatively novice pro when he faced Gervonta Davis and had not fought in about a year since that loss and had not fought at this weight. Romero was not a deserving title challenger in my opinion and due to a positive test from the champion was given the opportunity at an easy belt on short notice. I do not like short notice vacant title fights and was critical of Erik Morales getting the same opportunity to get a last minute replacement title fight against Pablo Cesar Cano. On principal I do not agree with the circumstances of having a title vacancy being fought on short notice. I feel vacancy fights should be for the two highest ranked available fighters and Romero was ranked fifth to Barroso’s one. This was only exacerbated by Romero’s poor showing prior to a horrible stoppage.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s