Gervonta Davis vs. Rolando Romero: Head-to-Toe Breakdown and Prediction

Lyle Fitzsimmons@@fitzbitzFeatured ColumnistMay 27, 2022

Gervonta Davis vs. Rolando Romero: Head-to-Toe Breakdown and Prediction

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    Gervonta Davis and Rolando Romero are one of two things: They're either two of the best actors in the boxing business when it comes to hyping a fight, or they genuinely hate each other.

    Regardless, they'll peel back the curtain and punch each other in the face Saturday night in the main event of a four-bout pay-per-view show produced by Showtime from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

    Never one to run from an opportunity to break down a fight, the B/R combat sports team took a look at the matchup from all possible angles to determine who has what advantages and forecast how it'll go when the opening bell rings in New York's most populous borough.

    Scroll through to see what we came up with, and feel free to toss a jab or two of your own in the comments.

What You Need to Know

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    What: Gervonta Davis vs. Rolando Romero

    Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn

    When: Saturday

    TV: Showtime PPV

    What's at Stake: The promotional types will have you believe Davis is making another defense of a credible world championship at 135 pounds, but he's not.

    The belt he holds is the WBA's second-tier lightweight title behind George Kambosos Jr., which renders it about as worthwhile as a screen door on a submarine.

    That said, it's still a pretty darn good fight. Davis is unquestionably one of the sport's hottest young stars, thanks to an unblemished record featuring 26 victories and 24 knockouts. He's had title claims of varying worth in two divisions and has a social media presence that's supplemented his in-ring achievements.  

    Romero is a bit more of a mystery with a 14-0 record and 12 KOs against lesser competition, but he certainly talks the talk with the best of them and has promised mayhem on Saturday night.

    "He's going to get knocked out in one round," he said at Wednesday's pre-fight media workout.

    "He's been knocked down in the gym a bunch of times. He gets wobbled, knocked out and all sorts of hurt. I feel bad for him. I'm going to go in there and beat him up. That's my only game plan. Make your money betting on me in this fight. We're all going to get rich together."

    If he backs up his words, he won't be far off that suggestion. Romero is a +600 underdog according to the numbers folks at DraftKings, which means a $100 wager in his direction would return $600. Davis, meanwhile, is a -1000 favorite, meaning it'll take a $1000 bet to bring back $100 if he is victorious.

Gervonta Davis's Tale of the Tape

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    Nickname: Tank

    Record: 26-0, 24 KOs

    Height: 5'5½"

    Weight: 134.5 pounds*

    Reach: 67½"

    Age: 27

    Stance: Southpaw

    Rounds: 108

    All stats per BoxRec

    *Official weight at last fight in December 2021.

Rolando Romero's Tale of the Tape

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    Michael Owens/Getty Images

    Nickname: Rolly

    Record: 14-0, 12 KOs

    Height: 5'8"

    Weight: 135 pounds*

    Reach: 68"

    Age: 26

    Stance: Orthodox

    Rounds: 51

    All stats per BoxRec

    *Official weight at last fight in July 2021.

Boxing Ability

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    Davis is not a boxer in the traditional, flit-around-the-ring sense.

    Instead, he's best described as a patient counterpuncher who'll paw with jabs and take time to assess an opponent's style before eventually walking the foe down and seeking to score with power shots.

    He sometimes throws punches from unique angles, an approach that's magnified by the fact that he's a southpaw and often results in confusion for the opposition. He's particularly adept at working the body, too. 

    And while he's hardly reminiscent of Ray Leonard, his technical ability seems superior to Romero, who took up the sport as a teenager and has gained as much traction for his social media antics as anything else.

    Nonetheless, the relative upstart has 12 KOs in 14 fights and is aggressive and awkward, which has posed problems for past opponents without Davis's pedigree. His footwork and means of getting into position to throw punches is particularly unique, but whether he'll be able to navigate successfully without stellar fundamentals here, though, is a bit more of a mystery.

    Advantage: Davis


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    If you expect Romero to win, it's pretty likely power has something to do with it.

    The 26-year-old has only been fighting as a pro since late 2016 and has only fought 51 rounds, but that's largely because few opponents have been able to take his punches.

    He stopped 10 of his first 11 foes in four rounds or fewer and has kept the early finishes coming since he graduated to longer fights, scoring a pair of seven-round stoppages and going the distance once in three scheduled 12-rounders. However, his tendency to load up on every shot could be a detriment.

    Davis, meanwhile, is obviously a pretty fair puncher in his own right.

    His uppercut finish of Leo Santa Cruz in 2020 was the stuff of KO-of-the-Year chatter, and he'd stopped 16 foes in a row before Isaac Cruz managed to stay sturdy for 12 rounds when they met last December.

    In fact, only Cruz and 79-fight veteran German Ivan Meraz (in 2014) have gone the distance with Davis. His first 12 KOs all came in four rounds or fewer, but he's ended fights in the sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, 11th and 12th rounds as well.

    Advantage: Even


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    Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

    For a guy whose statistics scream slugger, Davis is an underrated defender as well.

    He uses distance effectively to avoid punishment and set up counter shots. Davis also uses head movement to avoid punches and bends well to duck them, too.

    And being that he's a Floyd Mayweather Jr. disciple, it's no surprise when he employs the former five-division champion's shoulder roll technique to bedevil opponents.

    Romero—again due to a lack of experience and the absence of truly high-level opponents who've competed with him on an even level—is more of a mystery as to how much defense he actually plays.

    He suggests he'll be able to outbox Davis by claiming his rival is overrated and has a padded record, but there's hardly an avalanche of evidence showing his ability to do anything beyond punch.

    If he's unable to make Davis respect his power, defense will become an immediate necessity.

    Advantage: Davis


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    Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

    Davis's X-Factor: Will Relationship Trouble Create Issues?

    Davis has been a Mayweather ally and business client for his entire career, but he's gone public with issues lately and repeatedly said that the Romero fight will be his last under the Mayweather Promotions banner, suggesting he was ready to call the shots that determine his future foes, etc.

    "Everybody doesn’t need to have training wheels on them forever," he said. "It’s time to ride their own bike without training wheels."

    It's hardly the first time dirty laundry has been aired between boxers and their handlers, and it'd hardly be unprecedented if they went on as partners without interruption. However, the issues come at a particularly bad time for Davis as he prepares for a bitter and unpredictable rival.

    If his concentration is impacted by the outside drama, it could have an internal effect.


    Romero's X-Factor: Is He Really on This Level?

    One of Mayweather's signature lines throughout his career, usually as he outclassed an opponent, was, "There's levels to this."'

    He was frequently more skilled than even his best-prepared opponents, and it wasn't rare to see him toy with fighters who'd arrived promising mayhem and destruction.

    Maybe Romero is a fighter capable of backing up the promises he's made. But the reality going in is that no one he's faced has been on Davis's level. And unless he's able to bridge the gap with his own skill set, he could find out quickly the lesson that Mayweather espoused.


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    Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

    If Romero is what he says he is, this will be hardly a slam dunk for Davis.

    He could certainly trouble Davis with aggression and power, particularly if he's been able to get inside his foe's head with all the pre-fight trash talk.

    But if he's anything less than self-advertised, it could be a tough night.

    Davis appears on the surface to be better fundamentally than Romero, and he's certainly proven to have the power to hurt nearly every foe he's faced. Romero is taller and longer and may use that to his advantage to dictate the fight. In fact, it's mandatory that he does so.

    More likely, though, Davis is able to elude whatever fight-ending volleys Romero throws and gradually sets the tone for the fight with his own aggression and counterpunching. He softens his man up by the midway point and ultimately does him in by attrition somewhere before the so-called championship rounds.

    Prediction: Davis by TKO, Round 9


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