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Rolly Romero and Ismael Barroso vow to bring on the fireworks on Saturday

Rolando Romero and Ismael Barroso - Photo by Esther Lin/Showtime
Fighters Network

Rolando “Rolly” Romero and No. 1 contender Ismael Barroso previewed their showdown for the vacant WBA junior welterweight belt at the final press conference Thursday before they meet in the Showtime main event this Saturday, May 13 from The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas headlining a Premier Boxing Champions event.

Romero (14-1, 12 knockouts) was his usual brash self when he laid out his expectations for the fight.

“Everyone can expect to see ‘Rolly’ with the world title around his waist Saturday night. Every fighter that boxes dreams of becoming world champion, so it would be a dream come true,” said Romero. “All belts mean the same to me. My interim belt meant a lot to me too. I’m just blessed to be in the position to get my hands on another one,” in reference to the interim lightweight belt he held before facing Gervonta Davis for the regular version in a fight in which Romero was stopped in six rounds.

Rolando Romero – Photo by Esther Lin/Showtime

Venezuela’s Barroso (24-3-2, 22 KO) stepped in on less than a month’s notice after Alberto Puello, who previously held the WBA 140-pound title that will be fought for on Saturday night, had been dropped from the main event because of a failed VADA test, but he dismissed the idea that he wasn’t ready for the challenge.

“I’m churning with the same intensity that I had 10 years ago. You’re going to see that hunger and power in the ring. I’m bringing my best,” said Barroso, who now lives in Miami. “I’m the number one contender and I got the opportunity that I deserve. I know some people thought they were left behind, but that’s not for me to worry about. ‘Rolly’ is here to take advantage of his opportunity, so good for him.”

Barroso’s knockout percentage was not lost to Romero when he analyzed his foe.

“I think Barroso is actually a better fighter than Alberto Puello, because he can actually crack. Any time you’re in a fight with a puncher, you know it’s gonna be difficult,” said Romero. “I’m not underestimating him. I know he can hit and he’s a little tricky. He throws a good straight left that comes out of nowhere that he’s been getting guys with. So I’m definitely not underestimating him.”

Barroso also praised his foe for his willingness to engage, and promised to oblige.

“People who know me, know that I’m a warrior. ‘Rolly’ is a warrior too. So if you’re tuning into this fight on Saturday night, you’re going to see a battle between two fighters who are very eager to become world champion. That means fireworks,” said Barroso, who at 40 years of age may have already seen his best years go by even if he dismisses that thought.

Ismael Barroso – Photo by Esther Lin

“The lesson I’m here to show is that it doesn’t matter how many times you fall down, you have to keep getting up and battling every single momentm” said Barroso. “Because dreams can come true. Keep striving for whatever you want, no matter how old you are.”

Romero, who is only 27 and will be facing another power-punching southpaw and in a higher weight class to boot, feels that youth gives him the upper hand in his quest to return to the top.

“The only thing that I learned from the Gervonta Davis fight is that I need to be patient,” said Romero about his lone conqueror. “Patience is everything in life. I’m going to make 140-pounds the most popping division in boxing. I see many pay-per-view events and I’m involved in all of them.

“I do like trash talking, but this isn’t a trash talking fight. I have to respect this man next to me. Someone didn’t want to follow all the rules, so I have to be grateful Barroso is here.

“This is the beginning of the ‘Rolly’ show again. It’s gonna be fireworks.


A press release by Showtime/PBC was used in this article.