NEW YORK – Regardless of how their fight plays out on Saturday night, Rolando Romero will forever be grateful he received this second chance to produce the first-round knockout of Gervonta Davis that he has repeatedly predicted he would deliver.
Romero maintained his innocence to those close to him during his sexual assault ordeal. However, nothing was guaranteed once Mayweather Promotions, Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions and Showtime understandably pulled him in late October from his pay-per-view main event against Davis, which was initially scheduled for December 5 at Staples Center. of the Angels.
Detectives with the Henderson (Nevada) Police Department investigated an acquaintance’s claim that Romero sexually assaulted her sometime in the fall of 2019. They closed their case without filing charges against Romero, allowing the aforementioned companies to reschedule Davis- Romero for Saturday night. at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (9 pm ET; $74.99).
While appreciating his second shot at Davis’ WBA lightweight world title, Romero remains angry at what he sees as irreparable damage to his career and reputation. Ultimately, he will still earn the highest payday of his career for facing Davis, but Romero pointed out that Isaac Cruz, who replaced him five weeks early, could have upset Davis or Davis could have suffered a debilitating injury between fights he could have cost him the opportunity that was once taken from him.
“Anything can happen,” Romero told BoxingScene.com. “People don’t take their opportunities as blessings because at the end of the day, you never really know what you have until you lose it. And, you know, I had it. I had something that I ordered f—— years ago, for three, four years, you know? And I lost in just an instant over honestly some bullshit. The person who did this, no repercussions, nothing.
“And I think it’s sad that innocent people go through things like this for money. And it’s really sad because honestly, it was just a money grab, you know? They found me innocent, obviously, you know? Like I said, it was just bullshit. And honestly, I feel like this happens a lot more often than it should.”
Cromwell “Bullet” Gordon, Romero’s main trainer, was one of the most important components of his fighter’s support system as the legal process unfolded in late 2021 and early this year. Gordon provided positive reinforcement every day and tried to assure Romero (14-0, 12 KOs) that his grudge match with Davis (26-0, 24 KOs) would be rescheduled once he was exonerated.
“It was an extremely difficult time,” Gordon told BoxingScene.com. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and to get it back, I couldn’t be happier.”
Gordon noted constructive changes in Romero’s mature demeanor away from boxing due to the ordeal he endured.
“He doesn’t hang out,” Gordon said. “He doesn’t just do things recklessly or carelessly with whoever he is. He is very much at home. He has become a homebody, where he really focuses his time on playing chess, staying out of the spotlight and really focusing on his career.”
Romero, 26, of North Las Vegas, Nevada, became calmer and more appreciative of his family during the most difficult time of his young life. The former judo standout relied on his father and assistant coach, Rolando Sr., his mother, Tiffany, and his younger sister, Angelica, who overcame a complicated case of COVID-19 that forced her to be hospitalized twice while racing. of his brother was in limbo at the end of last year.
“My dream and my goal in all of this, honestly, is to get my mom a house,” Romero said. “That’s all she wanted, you know? I wanted that and obviously to become a star. That moment was taken from me, and I am blessed to have had the opportunity again. I feel like this extra time was beneficial for me because not only did I learn a little bit more in the ring and stuff, I learned more about myself during this time that I was with myself.
“I spent a lot of time alone during the last six months. She didn’t talk to anyone. She just sat there and found me, the real me. I feel that I not only found myself, but that I grew more as a man. I feel like I’m not so impulsive anymore. Now I am a little calmer than before. Social media doesn’t interest me as much as it used to. I started spending more time with family. I cherish every moment I spend with them now.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.