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Exclusive: Rolando Romero explains why he hates Tank Davis

Romero (right) and Davis. Photo by Esther Lin/ SHOWTIME
25
May

Rolando “Rolly” Romero is 26 but he jokes that his voice makes him sound like he’s 14, even though he possesses the mind and wit of a sage 60-year-old.

Then he opens his mouth more and it comes spewing out. His invective, interlaced with curses, is creative if nothing else. In one sentence, he displayed his verbal dexterity by converting the F-word into a noun, a vowel, and an adjective when aimed at his self-proclaimed nemesis, Gervonta “Tank” Davis: “That f—k can go f—k himself, that f—king ass—e.”

Tank and Rolly engage in a heated staredown prior to their original fight date late last year. Photo by Esther Lin/ SHOWTIME

Rolly’s boxing dexterity will be challenged this Saturday when he steps into the ring against Davis in a Premier Boxing Champions headliner, live on SHOWTIME PPV (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Davis (26-0, 24 knockouts) will be defending the WBA lightweight title. Romero (14-0, 12 KOs) will be defending himself after his brash remarks about Davis leading up to this fight.

Romero (14-0, 12 KOs) was in especially high spirits a week before the biggest fight of his life. He was loose and refreshingly candid about why he will beat Davis, and where this white-hot animosity originated.

“No, this is real, I want to beat the f—k out of him, I don’t f—king like him, I don’t like the way he f—king looks, I don’t like the way he f—king acts, he’s a really sh—y person, I think he’s a sh—t person inside and outside the ring,” Romero said. “He’s a piece of sh—t person, and honestly, this goes back to when he pushed me one time and I went to swing at him and he ran behind some security, because he’s a f—king p—y, too. He only acts hard when he’s around people, but by himself, he’s the biggest bitch in the world.

Rolando Romero stopped Avery Sparrow for the first time in his career (Photo by Amanda Westcott/Showtime)

“He’ll be by himself Saturday night when I get him. I mean he pushed me out of nowhere, for no reason. This was ringside, right before the (Errol) Spence-Mikey (Garcia fight in March 2016). And then, Floyd (Mayweather Jr.) grabbed him and told him he was a f—king disgrace of the f—king company. And then he got scared and had a panic attack. Floyd told him he was a disgrace to the f—king company, and that he’s a dumbass. Floyd said that sh—t to him.”

When asked about this incident, Mayweather Promotions representatives denied it happened.

“It happened, I saw it happen,” Romero maintained. “They’re using me to defend him against Ryan Garcia, because Ryan would knock Tank the f—k out. They’re putting Tank in the ‘Rolly protection services’ (laughs). This is a real story. This is a real thing that happened. I’m surprised no one ever reported this. This happened right after the J’Leon Love-David Benavidez fight and right before the Spence-Mikey fight. Right out in front where Floyd was sitting in the arena. Tank pushed me for no reason because he’s insecure about himself.

“That’s the story. That’s where the hate comes from. I didn’t start this. He did. It’s why I’m going to f—k him up really, really bad.”

Davis is incredibly powerful. He’s a mini-prime Mike Tyson with don’t-leave-the-room power. With Tank, if you get up and walk away for a second, there is a chance you will miss something. Rolly comes with some power, too. He knocked out his previous two opponents, among them tough Philadelphian Avery Sparrow for the first time in his career.

I don’t see the hype around him and that’s what bothers me. They all tell me Tank is this, this, and this. I don’t see it. Is there something I’m f—king missing? I know I’m not. He should be thankful for me. He’s broke. He needs me.

Davis, Romero says, is easy to hit, and past history shows, according to Rolly, Tank has been hit by opponents slower than him.

“I’m faster and more explosive than (Davis), so you can’t even compare that,” Rolly said. “He beat Leo Santa Cruz with a low blow and knocked him out 30 seconds later. Santa Cruz never recovered from the low blow. Gervonta Davis is a piece of sh—t fighter; I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries to hit me with a low blow or hit me behind the head.

“I do everything better than him. I’m more explosive, I’m faster, I’m a better boxer, I hit harder than him, I’m bigger than him, and honestly, I’m smarter than him.”

Romero started boxing relatively late for someone world class. He began at 17. When his father, Rolando Romero Sr., wanted him to box at a younger age, Rolly opted to wait. After viewing the 2012 Olympics, Romero decided he wanted to box. He said his first experience with gloves on came with a bang, when he knocked someone out. Considering his late start, it is unheard of for someone like Romero to progress so quickly.

In 2016, Romero embarked on his pro career and has stopped everyone he’s faced but two.

What is blatantly factual is Romero has no filter. Whatever is on his mind comes right out. Boxing is full of faux people—inside the ring and out, from the managers, to promoters, to support staff, down to the fighters and the media that covers them.

I know where all his ghosts are. I’m looking at him for what the f—k he is: He’s a poor, misunderstood kid. I’ll put my fist out there and he’ll run right into it. He’s that stupid.”

“I really don’t know where the no-filter attitude comes from, maybe my mom or my grandma, because they say whatever the f—k is on their minds,” Romero said. “We’re all sh—t talkers. Even my dad. Yeah, you can call it the passed down sh—t talking gene (laughs). But out of all of them, I’m the most vocal and witty. My mom (Tiffany Romero) is extremely witty. My uncle is extremely witty. The person who scolds me the most about sh—t talking is my father (Rolando Romero Sr.). He gets on me the most about chilling out.”

Romero didn’t cower when asked why he feels he will beat Davis for the first time as a pro.

“I have more balls than him,” Romero said. “None of his opponents fought like me and I have my own way to beat the sh—t out of him. There were a bunch of things Santa Cruz did that I liked, but like I said, Davis fought a bunch of guys who were slower than him—and he still looked like sh—t.

“My weight has been good. I look amazing. Every fight I say it’s the best shape I’m in. I’m ready. What am I going to say, I weigh 175 (laughs)? I feel great. There is nothing he does that I respect. Everyone that watches this fight on May 28 will see Tank Davis lying on the canvas. I live in his head. When I started out, I had a little campfire in his head, and then I built a tent, and then I built a nice, little shack, and I then made a little money and I started building a little house, and now I have a mansion in Tank Davis’ head (laughs).

 

“Everyone is here with me, too. My trainer, my dad, and they’re all with me living rent free in Tank Davis’ head. Even calling him a dwarf pisses him off (laughs). It’s why he wears high heels to f—king press conferences. You know what really pisses him off, when I say Joet Gonzalez, because as an amateur, he literally quit twice against Joet Gonzalez. Tank has beaten small guys, 126-pounders and weight-drained fighters, with no power. He has had a padded career. Mario Barrios couldn’t reach 140 anymore.

“Jose Pedraza had to hydrate down. Pedraza beat the sh—t out of Tank. I don’t see the hype around him and that’s what bothers me. They all tell me Tank is this, this, and this. I don’t see it. Is there something I’m f—king missing? I know I’m not. He should be thankful for me. He’s broke. He needs me. I know where all his ghosts are. I’m looking at him for what the f—k he is: He’s a poor, misunderstood kid. I’ll put my fist out there and he’ll run right into it. He’s that stupid.”

 

Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito.

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