Hard-hitting contender Rolando “Rolly” Romero and No. 1 contender Ismael Barroso previewed their showdown for the vacant WBA Super Lightweight World Title 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.
The press conference also featured fighters competing on the undercard of the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast. Action beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT will see former two-division world champion Rances Barthelemy duel the all-action Omar “El Relámpago” Juarez in the 10-round super lightweight co-main event, and super lightweight contenders Batyr Akhmedov and Kenneth Sims Jr., facing off in a 12-round WBA Super Lightweight World Title Eliminator in the telecast opener.
Barroso 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.
WHEN IS THE ROMERO VS. BARROSO FIGHT?
- Date: Saturday, May 13
- Start time: 9 p.m. ET / 2 a.m. BST
- Main event ringwalks (approx): 11 p.m. ET / 4 a.m. BST
- Showtime will broadcast the fight in the U.S.
- The fight will take place in The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
- The main card is set to get underway at 9 p.m. ET / 2 a.m. BST with the main event ringwalks scheduled for 11 p.m. ET / 4 a.m. BST.
Here is what the fighters had to say Thursday from The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas:
“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.
“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.
“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.
“The only thing that I learned from the Gervonta Davis fight is that I need to be patient. Patience is everything in life.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“Winning the title would be another blessing and a great source of happiness. It’s something that I’ve strived for my whole career and it would be the culmination of everything that I’ve trained for my entire life.
“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 moment. Because dreams can come true. Keep striving for whatever you want, no matter how old you are.”
“I’m well aware that I’m fighting a hungry young lion, but I had a great training camp with my team. We studied him really well and you’re going to see me come out on top on Saturday night.
“The goal is to be able to make history as the first Cuban fighter to win titles in three divisions. That’s what propels me to wake up in the morning and continue chasing this dream I’ve had for years.
“I don’t feel on the decline at all. I feel renewed. I have an outstanding team around me that’s allowed me to reach my peak once again. I feel like I’m more dangerous than ever. I have to prove it on Saturday.
“If you gave me a choice between fighting for a title or a rematch with Gary Antuanne Russell, I think I would take the rematch with Russell.
“Styles make fights and our styles mesh up perfectly. Tune in to this fight because it’s going to be fireworks in the ring.”
“I’m ready. I had the best training camp of my career so far. I’m excited to display all my dedication on Saturday night.
“I have experience too, but at the end of the day, we’re both putting it all on the line. We’ll see who’s tougher when the bell rings.
“Everyone is going to see that I’m the hardest worker in the room. It’s been like that ever since I started fighting, and I’m ready to display it on Saturday night.
“At the end of the day, I want to be great. I have a lot of respect for Rances, but he’s just in my way. I have to fight the best in order to be the best. This is a big win that I’m looking forward to getting.
“We’re fighters and we adapt. I’m ready for whatever my opponent brings to the table. No matter what Rances does, I’m going to be ready.
“This is gonna be an action packed fight with two amazing fighters and hard workers. Make sure you tune in, because all of these fights are going to be awesome.”
“I’m very happy to be back with this fight. It definitely bothers me what happened since my fight against Alberto Puello. Of course, I want to be fighting for the title, but it is what it is. I took this fight one month after that Puello fight, and now we’re here fighting a tough contender.
“This is a tough fight and I’m happy to be here. I have big opportunities in front of me, and it’s up to me to go get them.
“It’s hard to know what will happen, but I do believe the winner of this fight should face the winner of the main event. We’re two top ranked contenders and the winner should be next. All I can control is doing my best to become the mandatory.
“I feel like I’m a two-time world champion already, but I haven’t got the belt. I know the people appreciate my style and what I do in the ring. I know that I’ve earned being in the main event. But now I do believe that I have a tougher fight in front of me and all I can do is prove what I deserve on Saturday.
“I have to do my best to leave no doubt. I’m going to do my best every single round to win as brightly as possible and make sure there are zero doubts.”
KENNETH SIMS JR.
“This fight is super important to me. Everyone here knows that a couple of years ago, I wasn’t in this conversation. I don’t ever want to leave this conversation again. In order for that to happen, I have to take care of business on Saturday.
“I’ve been extremely focused for the last two years. I’m not a young pup anymore. I’ve got more that I’m fighting for. I’m not just fighting for myself. I’m prepared to do whatever I have to do in the ring to get the win and keep my train rolling.
“There have been a lot of things that have changed with me over the last couple of years. Honestly, I didn’t know what I was doing in the first phase of my career. I was just in there and fighting off straight athletic ability. I never applied what I actually know.
“Now I’ve got a great team around me and I’ve learned a lot about myself. Whether it’s nutrition or strength and conditioning, I didn’t really have that in the first phase of my pro career. Now I have a real team around me and it’s paying off.
“When I say I’m ready for whatever, I mean it. No matter what I have to do. If boxing isn’t working, I can fight. I’m not scared of a fight.
“I think Batyr should be world champion right now and I believe that the winner of this fight should get to fight for the title.”
ROLLY VS. BARROSO CARD
WBA Super Lightweight World Championship – 12 Rounds
Rolando Romero – 139.4 lbs.
Ismael Barroso – 139.4 lbs.
Referee: Tony Weeks; Judges: Tim Cheatham (Nev.), David Sutherland (Okla.), Steve Weisfeld (N.J.)
Super Lightweight Bout – 10 Rounds
Rances Barthelemy – 142.6 lbs.
Omar Juarez – 142.2 lbs.
Note: Contracted weight is 143 pounds
Referee: Thomas Taylor; Judges: Max DeLuca (N.Y.), Patricia Morse Jarman (Nev.), Dave Moretti (Nev.)
WBA Super Lightweight World Title Eliminator – 12 Rounds
Batyr Akhmedov – 138.8 lbs.
Kenneth Sims Jr. – 139.2 lbs.
Referee: Harvey Dock; Judges: Tim Cheatham (Nev.), Chris Migliore (Nev.), Steve Weisfeld (N.J.)
SHOWTIME BOXING COUNTDOWN
Stream Live at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT
On the SHOWTIME SPORTS® YouTube Channel and SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook page
Super Lightweight Bout – 10 Rounds
Esteuri Suero – 139.2 lbs.
Starling Castillo – 139.6 lbs.
Referee: Celestino Ruiz; Judges: Eric Cheek (Nev.), Max DeLuca (N.Y.), David Sutherland (Okla.)
Bantamweight Bout – Eight Rounds
Michael Angeletti – 118.2 lbs.
Michell Banquez – 118.8 lbs.
Note: Contracted weight is 119 pounds
Referee: Chris Flores; Judges: Tim Cheatham (Nev.), Patricia Morse Jarman (Nev.), Dave Moretti (Nev.)
Super Featherweight Bout – Six Rounds
Justin Viloria – 127.6 lbs.
Pedro Pinillo – 129.2 lbs.
Referee: Tom Taylor; Judges: Eric Cheek (Nev.), Max DeLuca (N.Y.), Steve Weisfeld (N.J.)