No announcement yet.

Super Lightweights Take Center Stage at the Cosmo on Saturday

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Super Lightweights Take Center Stage at the Cosmo on Saturday

    By Arne K. Lang

    Premier Boxing Champions returns to the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas on Saturday, May 13, with a SHOWTIME tripleheader. All six combatants in the featured bouts compete in the super lightweight (140-pound) division.

    It’s a very deep division that will spawn two very attractive pairings on back-to-back Saturdays in June when Josh Taylor rumbles with Teofimo Lopez on a Top Rank promotion at Madison Square Garden and Regis Prograis squares off against Liam Paro on a Matchroom show in New Orleans. But that’s getting ahead of ourselves.

    Saturday’s featured bout at the Cosmo pits Rolly Romero (14-1, 12 KOs) against Ismael Barroso (24-3-2, 22 KOs). Romero, who will have home field advantage, is looking to rebound after suffering a sixth-round stoppage at the hands of the formidable Gervonta “Tank” Davis. Romero was competitive in that fight before the roof fell in and was actually ahead on one of the scorecards through the five completed rounds.

    Barroso, from Miami by way of Venezuela, is riding a four-fight winning streak but has been relatively inactive, fighting only once in 2021 and in 2022 after missing all of 2020. A former world title challenger at 135 pounds, he’s 40 years old and looks it.

    Romero, 27, is known for being one of the sport’s best trash-talkers, but he has been nothing but respectful toward Barroso who salvaged this fight, stepping up on less than one month’s notice after Alberto Puello got scratched for flunking his VADA test.


    The co-feature between Rances Barthelemy (29-2-1, 15 KOs) and Omar Juarez (14-1, 5 KOs) is far more intriguing. Barthelemy turns 37 next month and looks younger. There isn’t an ounce of superfluous flesh on his body. But the calendar doesn’t lie and Juarez, 23, will have youth on his side.

    Before he leaves the sport, Barthelemy aims to become the first fighter from Cuba to win world titles in three weight classes. He previously held world title belts at 130 and 135.

    In his last start, Barthelemy was stopped for the first time in his career, losing on a TKO in round six to Gary Antuanne Russell. Although he was behind on all three cards, Barthelemy was more than holding his own when referee Shada Murdaugh waived the fight off in a stoppage that struck almost everyone as premature. That was a fan-friendly fight for as long as it lasted, redemption of sorts for Barthelemy who fought a real stinker here at the Cosmo with Robert Easter Jr in April of 2019.

    Both Barthelemy and Juarez (pictured) come from athletic families. Barthelemy’s older brother Yan won a gold medal in boxing at the 2004 Summer Olympics. Rances’ younger brother Leduan, who defected with him from Cuba, sports a 16-2-1 record in the fight-for-pay ranks.

    Omar Juarez, a handsome, well-spoken young man from Brownsville, Texas, who has been recognized for giving back to his community, acknowledges that he may not be the most gifted boxer in his family. His younger brother Sebastian is a three-time national amateur champion who is on the verge of turning pro. Another brother, Rudy Juarez Jr., is currently playing pro football in Norway, of all places. An outstanding running back at Bethel College in Kansas, Rudy purportedly ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 for NFL scouts.

    Juarez’s hometown, Brownsville, has been in the news a lot lately. In recent days, the border city in the Rio Grande Valley has been overwhelmed with would-be asylum-seekers from Mexico and Central America.

    Juarez, who has toured some of the migrant camps with local politicians, acknowledges that it is a thorny problem while noting that the surge hasn’t directly impacted him or members of his family. “The United States is and should always remain the land of opportunity,” he says, “but it’s important to know who these people are.”

    Juarez will put all those thoughts on the backburner on Saturday night when he steps up in class to fight Rances Barthelemy.


    In the opening bout of the telecast, Batyr Akhmedov (9-2, 8 KOs) meets Kenneth Sims Jr (19-2-1, 7 KOs).

    A native Kazakh who represented Turkey in the 2016 Olympics, Akhmedov, 32, is a two-time world title challenger who went the distance with Mario Barrios and the aforementioned Puello. He hits harder and has fought stiffer competition than Sims, a 29-year-old Chicagoan, but the oddsmakers were more impressed with Sims’ current form -- he's won his last six -- and installed him a small favorite.

    Photo credit: Esther Lin / SHOWTIME