WBA lightweight champion Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis (27-0, 25 KOs) took care of business with a one-punch knockout victory over previously unbeaten Rolando ‘Rolly’ Romero (14-1, 12 KOs) on Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York,
Tank took his time figuring out Rolly through the first five rounds, but in the sixth, he pounced, landing a big left hand that shook him to his boots, sending him down on the canvas.
Although Rolly got back up, the referee chose to stop the contest. Rolly would have been quickly finished off if the fight had been allowed to continue. Referee David Fields stopped the contest at 2:39 of round six.
In the chief support bout on the card, WBA secondary middleweight champion Erislandy Lara (29-3-3, 17 KOs) defeated terribly overmatched fringe contender Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (31-5, 21 KOs), stopping the aging 37-year-old Ireland native in the eighth round in a woefully one-sided contest.
O’Sullivan was dropped like a bad habit in the fourth by the Cuban Lara. From that point on, Lara had O’Sullivan hurt in rounds five, six, seven, and eight.
The referee finally decided he’d seen enough and halted the fight in the eighth round after the 39-year-old Lara stunned O’Sullivan with a jarring left to the head.
It’s unknown why the organizers of this card didn’t put Lara in with a better opponent than #10 WBA O’Sullivan because this was the chief support bout on a card that is selling for $74.95 on PPV.
Unbeaten junior middleweight Jesus Ramos (19-0, 15 KOs) had too much talent for Luke Santamaria (13-3-1, 7 KOs), outworking him by a wide 10-round unanimous decision. The judges had it 98-92, 97-93, and 97-93.
In a tougher than expected bout, #4 WBC super featherweight contender Eduardo Ramirez (27-2-3, 12 KOs) beat Luis Melendez (17-2, 13 KOs) by a 10 round majority decision. The scores were as follows: 95-95, 96-94, and 98-92.
Preview Rolly’s unpredictability will be a problem
“I’ve had the opportunity to watch Rolly grow up to see him go from six rounds to twelve rounds, so he didn’t have the opportunity to gradually evolve into it,” said Rolly’s strength& conditioning coach Larry Wade to Fighthype.
“He catapulted himself into the division like he’s done with everything else. For me to see him growing, showing a high degree of professionalism, which is really important to be successful in this game, it’s been amazing,” Wade continued.
“You see it in his performance right now as well. Here’s the thing. How can you prepare for someone that doesn’t even know what they’re going to do?” said Wade in touching on the unorthodox style that Rolly uses.
“When you watch a fighter that has certain tendencies and you can watch for those tendencies, but for Rolly, there isn’t any. It’s always organic, it’s always news He does give off the structured movements of the jab, and hook. It’s just that they’re from a different angle.
“They’re not in the structured way that people want to see them in, but it’s going to be really difficult to defend against that. I think a guy like Tank can adjust and do a lot of different things. A lot of times he hasn’t had to. He’s been the aggressor.
“When you’re the aggressor a lot of times you don’t get to see him moving off the back foot, but I’m definitely not going to hang my hat on that because that could be the reason or the cause of why he’s going to have problems that night.
Where to watch Tank vs. Rolly
Showtime TV: $74.99
FITE PPV: £10.50
“I think the problems are going to be a lot more than whether he [Tank Davis] can go backward or not. Well, here’s the thing. I think the biggest mistake is putting so much emphasis on what another person does as opposed to what they do.
“He [Gervonta] does a lot of good things or he wouldn’t be a two-division or three-division world champion. So he’s had to do some good things. We understand he’s a good boxer.
“I’m not taking anything away from his abilities. I’m focusing on my boxer [Rolly] and my boxer should be focusing on himself as well. Why? Because that’s how you win. Focusing on somebody else makes you look forward to what they’re going to do, and it makes you get caught up.
“Absolutely, hands down,” said Wade when asked if he believes Rolly is the strongest fighter in the division. “Hands down, that’s not even a question, it’s not even something open to debate, and I wouldn’t get so passionate if I didn’t believe it.
“Listen, this is what I do for a living. I didn’t get to this point in my life and career by not knowing what I’m looking at. By far, Rolly is the strongest and most explosive fighter that Tank has run into up until this point.
“With Leo Santa Cruz, he’s definitely going to be a Hall of Fame boxer, but Leo Santa Cruz is known for being conditioned, for being constantly, an accumulation of punches, and having a lot of heart.
“That’s what’s gotten him to this point, but what he’s not known for is throwing power punches. He breaks guys down and he beats guys and he’s a wonderful person,” said Wade.
Rolando = Tank’s strongest opponent
“I’m never going to take anything away from him, but by far, I think this [Rolly Romero] is the toughest, strongest fighter that Tank has been in the ring with,” said Wade.
“Hands down, it’s not even something for me to debate about,” said Wade when asked if he still believes Rolly is the strongest puncher that Tank will have fought despite him recently going up to 140 to challenge WBA ‘regular’ light-welterweight champion Mario Barrios in 2021.
“Barrios is an amazing fighter too. I’m not taking anything away from him either. I think in my opinion, and understand I’m not in his team, I think Barrios was doing a wonderful job in that fight [against Tank Davis]. All the way up until the end when he got caught, I think he was doing a wonderful job.
“I did,” said Wade about him having Barrios up at the time that Tank stopped him in the eleventh round. “If I didn’t have him winning, I had it close. It was the same way with Leo Santa Cruz. I had Leo Santa Cruz actually winning [against Gervonta] at the time. Tank did what he did.
“You can never sleep on a young man like that, and me saying what I’m saying about Rolly is by no means is that to attack Barrios or Leo Santa Cruz because I think they’re both amazing fighters. I’m just focusing on the things my fighter can do.
“I don’t put a lot of energy into what he’s going to be surprised with,” said Wade about him not concerned with what Tank Davis will be surprised with by Rolly.
“I think what he’s going to realize real soon is that this isn’t going to be a cakewalk and that the fight might not be the type of fight that he wants it to be because he has a guy in front of him that can athletically do a lot of things that can deter you in a lot of ways.
“He’s going to have to make adjustments,” Wade said of Tank Davis. “It’s not going to be simply him walking in and letting me get him out. It’s, ‘I got to work for this.’
“I was in the front row in LA when it was the Staples Center, and I got the opportunity to see him [Gervonta] in camp at that time because he had come in for two weeks for Shawn Porter’s camp,” Wade said in talking about Tank Davis’ fight against Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz last December.
“I went to watch it because it was the same weekend that Rolly was supposed to fight him. So, I went there to support my guy Barry Hunter, who was working the corner at that time. I started watching it, and I felt he put on a good performance.
“I think the problem was, he [Gervonta] didn’t do what the fans wanted him to do [against Pitbull Cruz]. The fans wanted to see another knockout. The fans wanted to see another glorious moment, and they didn’t get that.
“What they saw was a guy that put him a lot more resistance than they expected, and that resistance, instead of it lifting Pitbull and saying, he did a great job, they kind of attacked him [Gervonta], that he did a p*** poor job.
“No, that guy [Pitbull Cruz] did well. It’s not like Tank did bad. He fought well. It’s just that he fought better than I expected, and I think that happens a lot of times in sports.
“When a guy doesn’t do what you expect him to do, you automatically say, ‘He did a p*** poor job’ when he didn’t. The other guy just fought better,” said Wade.
Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis will have a war on his hands tonight when he battles the dangerous puncher Rolando ‘Rolly’ Romero in the main event on Showtime pay-per-view at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The card begins at 9:00 p.m. ET.
Although WBA ‘regular’ lightweight champion Tank (26-0, 24 KOs) is the betting favorite with the oddsmakers, Rolly (14-0, 12 KOs) has an excellent chance of pulling off the upset.