A little over a week ago, lightweight contender Rolando “Rolly” Romero showed up at the kickoff news conference outdoors at Staples Center in Los Angeles to announce his fight with WBA secondary titlist Gervonta “Tank” Davis wearing a fur coat in 80-degree heat and promised several times to knock him out.
On Monday, Romero was knocked out of the fight, which was scheduled to headline a Showtime PPV card on Dec. 5 at Staples Center. However, as most expected, Romero was dropped by organizers Showtime, Mayweather Promotions, and Premier Boxing Champions days after Izabel Zambrano, an acquaintance of Romero’s, went public on Twitter on Thursday with a sexual assault allegation against Romero.
A Showtime spokesperson told World Boxing News in a statement of the decision to drop Romero from the bout.
“Rolando Romero will not be part of the December 5 Gervonta Davis PPV event,” the spokesperson said. “The event will continue with a replacement opponent, which the event promoters are in the process of securing. An announcement of the replacement is expected shortly.”
Romero (14-0, 12 KOs), 26, denied the allegations but accepted the fact that he would not fight Davis (25-0, 24 KOs), 26, of Baltimore, in the upcoming bout.
“Although the allegations against me are totally false, and I will prove that through the legal system, I agree that it is in the best interest of everyone involved that I not participate in the upcoming pay-per-view event,” Romero said in a statement posted to his Instagram page. “After clearing my name, I will return to the ring as soon as possible.”
Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe, the promoter of Davis and Romero, could not be reached for comment.
A source with knowledge of the discussions told World Boxing News that lightweight contender Isaac Cruz (22-1-1, 15 KOs) 23, of Mexico, is the likely replacement opponent. Cruz, known as “Pitbull,” has not lost since dropping an eight-rounder in 2016.
Cruz has looked particularly good in his last three bouts as he has stepped up his competition level. He knocked out former world title challenger Diego Magdaleno in the first round in brutal fashion last Oct. 31, won a unanimous decision over then-undefeated Matias Romero in March, and won a lopsided unanimous decision over former junior lightweight world titlist Francisco Vargas on June 19.
One potential opponent who was mentioned was Michel Rivera (22-0, 14 KOs), 23, a Dominican Republic native fighting out of Miami, who shut out Matias Romero 100-90 on all three scorecards on Saturday night on Showtime’s Radzhab Butaev-Jamal James undercard at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. But Rivera was not interested.
“We would not fight Gervonta Davis, one of the best fighters in the world, on 30 days’ notice,” Rivera promoter Sampson Lewkowicz told World Boxing News. “I will not take a fight like that, regardless of money, on 30 days’ notice. How can I put my guy in there only for the money? I will not do it, and Michel Rivera will not do it either. He wants to fight Gervonta Davis when he has enough time to prepare himself to face one of the best fighters in the world.”
ROLLY ROMERO ALLEGATION
The alleged incident between Romero and Zambrano, 24, happened in the fall of 2019. She reported it to the police in Henderson, Nevada, on Friday.
Although Romero has not been charged with any crime at this point, the police will now investigate the incident, which led to the fight organizers to drop him from the bout while his legal situation is clarified.
Besides her Twitter posts, Zambrano detailed her allegations in an interview with Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated on Saturday, saying that she had not come forward previously because she was “really scared,” but once she saw all the attention, Romero was getting for the fight she decided to go public and to file a report with police.
“It just seemed like he was everywhere,” Zambrano said to Mannix. “I went to YouTube to turn on a video (for) my daughter, I see a video of him. I go on Twitter, I see a video of him. And I go on Facebook, I see a video of him. I turn on the TV … I didn’t realize I had PTSD from that night. But I was so confused and so ashamed that I had put myself in a position like that. Now, I’m very triggered by what happened. I can no longer sit and bottle it up while he gets to live this life and be glorified. No one’s voice is heard.
“People are calling me a gold-digger, a clout-chaser, and so many things like that. All these things people are saying about me are not true. They have just been disgusting. This is something I have struggled with in silence. I had to speak up.”