ROLANDO ROMERO started boxing to impress a girl - but he fell in love with the sport instead.
Now, the brash and outspoken American fights Gervonta Davis in a pay-per-view headliner on Showtime in the US and FITE TV in the UK.
Romero at 26 is unbeaten in 14 fights, winning them all with 12 knockouts and is signed to Floyd Mayweather's promotional banner.
That is despite being a late bloomer to boxing, only starting out at 17 after watching the 2012 Olympics.
But only three years later did Romero start taking the sport seriously, while trying win the love of a girl.
He wanted to prove to her that he could better their lives and stay disciplined.
Though in end after four months of trying Romero threw in the towel - but by then he had already grown to love boxing instead.
He told SunSport: “August 2015, I tried and I tried, but that stopped around December 2015. I just focussed on boxing.
“I did nothing but focus on boxing from that point and I ended up getting signed by Mayweather Promotions about a year later."
Despite only picking up the gloves ten years ago, in truth boxing has always been part of Romero's life.
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His dad, Rolando Sr, was a national amateur champion in Cuba and wanted his son to follow in his footsteps.
Romero Jr though had other ideas and instead preferred to brag rather than box.
But after talking just a little too much, he was forced to put his money where his mouth is and step foot in the ring for real.
Romero revealed: "I started boxing at 17, watching the 2012 Olympics. I said they were chumps and I'd knock them all out.
"My dad said, 'No, you wouldn't, you're a bitch'. I said, 'Watch me'.
“I went to the gym, first day I put on the gloves and sparred somebody, I broke his nose.
“I went back the next day and broke another kid’s nose, and I was like, ‘I think I might be good at this s***’.
“I beat the s*** out of a few people, then I got my ass beat. I was just a natural, I’ve always been a puncher.
“I mean, you’re either born with it or you’re not. I’ve got the blessing and I was born with tremendous power.
“I could just touch somebody and knock them out.”
The Romeros have always been fighters, both in and out of the ring.
Rolando Sr was sent to prison at 27 for trying to flee Cuba and was fed nothing but rice and water for the first month.
But after finishing his jail sentence, he once again sought to defect and swam across Guantanamo Bay with his friend.
Sadly, Rolando Sr's friend drowned and died but Romero's dad survived and after three weeks flew him to Miami.
Rolando Sr, now his son's assistant coach, made it to America at the age of 30 and two years later, his boy was born.
And despite the remarkable mission, Romero insists he is not inspired by his dad's story - but instead by the promise he made him.
He said: “Really, it doesn’t motivate me. That’s his journey.
“What does motivate me about my father is that honestly, his dream was for me to be a champion and I did that at 12 fights.
“Now, I’m going to become a star, that’s what motivates me.
"I don’t believe in having motivation from outside sources, I feel like it should come from inside.
“If you don’t want it for your damn self it doesn’t matter what the f*** anybody else wants.”
Romero did not have a big amateur background, having only 35 fights with a 25-10 record.
Instead, he made his mark in the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas, treating sparring sessions like brutal world title fights.
It caught the attention of Mayweather himself, who signed Romero in 2016 - but the boxer was left with a bad reputation.
He said: “I’ve calmed down a lot, because it started to get expensive for me. No one would spar me, so I had to start paying.
“Then I was paying more money to spar then I was making to fight, so I was like, ‘OK, maybe there’s a little problem with that’.
“I was like, man from the end of 2015 all the way to August 2018, I was just going in there and my only goal was to beat the f*** out of you, knock you out."
Romero in 2020 won the WBA 'interim' lightweight title and a year later beat Anthony Yigit, 30, his biggest win to date.
It set him up with a grudge match against long-time rival Davis, 27, which was set for December.
But Romero was pulled out after being levelled with sexual assault allegations, which he vehemently denied.
After an investigation, the unbeaten fighter faced no charges as the allegations could not be substantiated.
It meant he got a second shot at Davis, who along with one other unnamed foe remains at the top of Romero's hit-list.
He said: “He’s the motherf***er I like the least in this sport. Well, there is one other guy I can’t f***ing stand.
"There’s two people I just want to go up to and bitch slap. But I don’t want to talk about them right now.
“But Tank, we have this fight and I’m going to knock him the f*** out and become a star. He has what I want.”
Despite being a 7/1 underdog, Romero has been bullish in his verdict of Davis, who has won belts in three divisions.
And when asked for his final prediction on when the fight will end, he said: “Twenty five seconds into round one.”