GLENDALE, Arizona – Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis is an overwhelming favorite ahead of this weekend’s grudge match with Rolando Romero.
However, the unbeaten secondary WBA lightweight titlist is not the unanimous choice to prevail in the Showtime Pay-Per-View headliner at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York (Saturday, 9:00 p.m. ET, $74.95). A growing number of people in the industry believe that Las Vegas’ Romero (14-0, 12KOs) is capable of pulling off what would be a massive upset.
Included among them is red-hot lightweight Jose ‘Rayo’ Valenzuela, who visits New York for the first time in his life for no other reason than to see this weekend’s show and scout both fighters.
“I’ve been seeing a lot of film on them recently; I think I’m gonna go with Rolly,” Valenzuela told BoxingScene.com and FightHype.com when prompted for a prediction. “Tank stopped Leo, a small fighter. He stopped Gamboa, who is at 135 but still a small fighter.
“Watching the Barrios fight, he looked good but Barrios was there (to be hit). Rolly won’t be there like that. He’s gonna make it awkward, has a bigger and stronger base than most of the guys Tank has seen.”
The pick is a drastic take from the general viewpoint that sees Baltimore’s Davis (26-0, 24KOs) quickly and emphatically resuming his knockout ways. The 27-year-old southpaw is a 10-1 favorite or better with most sportsbooks offering odds on the contentious clash which is also Davis’ fourth straight as a PPV headliner.
Romero has never been a main event on PPV or even Showtime heading into Saturday. At just 14 fights into his career, the unbeaten Las Vegas native boasts a relatively thin resume for a fight of this magnitude. Still, he was the mandatory challenger and thus owed a shot at Davis’ secondary title, in addition to literally talking his way into the fight. Some believe that he has managed to get inside Davis’ head, though Davis appeared to be relatively calm throughout the buildup save for offering a lighthearted shove that nearly led to a brawl during Friday’s weigh-in.
Valenzuela (12-0, 8KOs) prefers to trust his own eyes more than his ears. The unbeaten lightweight from Seattle by way of Mexico—who is a stablemate of and close friends with unbeaten super middleweight David Benavidez—thinks enough of both fighters where he prefers to fight the winner AND the loser by year’s end. Such a scenario would put him in a title fight of sorts—at which point he believes he would be facing Romero for the secondary WBA title.
“I was actually going with Tank when the fight was first announced,” admits Valenzuela. “Looking at film, I just feel like Rolly’s gonna do it. We’ll see. It’s a good fight. I want the winner or the loser.”
Valenzuela is coming off a first-round knockout win over faded, former WBC junior lightweight titlist Francisco ‘El Bandido’ Vargas. Their April 16 clash served as part of the Errol Spence-Yordenis Ugas Showtime PPV from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. BoxingScene.com has learned that there are plans for Valenzuela to join Showtime host Brian Custer for an on-air interview at some point during Saturday’s telecast.