July 9, 1989: Rosario vs Jones – One Punch KO For Edwin Rosario

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Once we examine and rank boxers of the previous, one thing all severe battle followers like to do, one of many key standards is longevity. This has much less to do with the span of time between a pugilist’s first contest and their final, and extra with how lengthy they have been in a position to compete on the elite degree. Historical past’s biggest boxers have prolonged primes and defeated prime contenders and champions properly into the second decade of their careers. And a few, reminiscent of Sam Langford, Sugar Ray Robinson, George Foreman, Bernard Hopkins and Archie Moore, astonished everybody with their capability to disregard the calendar and maintain scoring massive wins greater than twenty years after their professional careers started.

However then there are the champions who seem to have all of the pure expertise and ability however, for no matter motive, simply can’t final. When Edwin Rosario emerged within the early 80’s, many have been impressed with the younger Puerto Rican’s mix of easy boxing expertise and devastating energy. Having turned professional days earlier than he turned sixteen, “Chapo” was a prime contender within the light-weight division earlier than he was twenty, with the poise and preventing instincts of somebody a lot older. All agreed he was a sure-fire future world champ and there was speak of matching him with light-weight king Alexis Arguello, however then the Nicaraguan legend moved as much as 140 to problem Aaron Pryor. So as an alternative Rosario took on Jose Luis Ramirez for the vacant WBC title.

Rosario and Ramirez rumble.

And already one may see the cracks in Rosario’s sport. Ramirez was one powerful Mexican warrior and he subjected the youthful fighter to stress and ache the likes of which Edwin had by no means encountered earlier than. Whereas he out-boxed Ramirez within the first half of the match, he discovered himself preventing for his life within the late levels and received the title by the narrowest of margins on the scorecards. Additional slippage in Rosario’s method was evident only a yr later when he barely outpointed Howard Davis Jr., and 6 months after that he suffered defeat for the primary time when he was stopped in a brief however very violent battle with Ramirez that was 1984’s Struggle Of The 12 months.

Rosario got here so near defeating Hector Camacho in 1985.

“Chapo” rebounded in 1985 with 4 wins, together with a call over Frankie Randall, and was rewarded with a title shot in opposition to Hector “Macho” Camacho. In an thrilling and considerably controversial battle at Madison Sq. Backyard, Rosario virtually handed Camacho his first loss, rocking him repeatedly earlier than dropping a detailed resolution to his fellow Puerto Rican. Curiously, the 2 have been separated by lower than a yr in age, however Camacho was seen because the younger star with huge potential whereas Rosario already had the air of a battle-worn veteran. However Edwin was nonetheless harmful and three months later the WBA light-weight champion, Livingston Bramble, discovered that the exhausting method when he did not respect Rosario’s energy and was knocked out within the second spherical.

Rosario brutalizes Bramble.

The roller-coaster trip that was the profession of Edwin Rosario continued as he twice efficiently defended his new title earlier than Julio Cesar Chavez handed him a one-sided battering that was extended, vicious and painful. Chavez was shifting up in weight to problem Rosario but it surely was the Mexican who was stronger, his highly effective physique punches and relentless assault grinding Edwin down till the champion’s coach had no selection however to lastly halt the bloodbath in spherical eleven.

“Rosario by no means stop,” mentioned HBO’s Larry Service provider at ringside, “however his nook did the suitable factor.”

Even supposing he was solely 24-years-old, the Chavez defeat marked the top of Rosario’s prime and evidently his administration workforce understood this because the mixed data of his subsequent six opponents was 40-62-1. However these six wins impressed the WBA sufficient to have Rosario compete in opposition to southpaw Anthony “Child” Jones, who boasted a 20-1-1 document, for his or her vacant world title after Chavez moved as much as 140. Jones, a Detroit native and member of the well-known Kronk secure, was educated by Emanuel Steward, however he got here into the match a 4-to-1 underdog. So think about the shock of many at ringside when it was “Child” who set the tempo and obtained the higher of the motion.

Chavez gave Edwin a painful battering.

Admittedly, it didn’t look that method within the opening spherical when Rosario began quick and cracked Jones with some sharp proper fingers. However after a stern lecture in his nook from Steward, Jones stood his floor and began urgent, backing up Rosario and outworking the previous champion.

“I assumed Jones got here out to field,” mentioned Rosario later, “however he got here to battle.”

Close to the top of spherical three Jones buckled “Chapo’s” legs with a flush left to the chin and he out-slugged Rosario in rounds 4 and 5, touchdown heavy photographs to the older man’s physique. In the meantime Rosario’s blows appeared to lack snap and did not have an effect on Jones. Or no less than that was the case till close to the mid-way level of spherical six when Rosario got here excessive with a wonderfully timed proper hand that detonated on “Child’s” chin. Jones crashed to the canvas so exhausting he bounced, earlier than he by some means beat the rely. However he was out on his toes; three punches later the referee moved in and caught Jones as he fell and the battle was stopped. Rosario had received his third world title.

Anthony Jones

“I used to be weaving down and Jones was weaving up,” mentioned Rosario. “And pop! End!”

“He’s gone, he’s shot,” mentioned Emanuel Steward. However the coach was speaking concerning the new champion, not Andrew Jones.

And it was true. Simply 26, Edwin Rosario’s capability to compete on the highest degree was a shaky proposition at finest. A number of years earlier than, he was a whole fighter, among the finest within the sport, however the reflexes had eroded and the talents had light.

“He is aware of he’s over the hill,” confided his translator to Steve Farhood earlier than the Jones battle. “He has 4 children. When he wakes up within the morning, he’s a father. Chavez, Pernell Whitaker, they love boxing. Edwin is sick of it.”

Perhaps so, however the roller-coaster trip continued some time longer. In his subsequent battle, “Chapo” misplaced his title to Juan Nazario, however the yr after that he was a champion but once more, defeating Loreto Garza for the tremendous light-weight crown. He hungered for a rematch with Chavez but it surely by no means occurred. As an alternative he suffered defeats to Akinobu Hiranaka and Frankie Randall after which he began taking losses exterior the ring, to medicine and alcohol. His marriage fell aside and shortly the cash was gone and after 4 years away from boxing he launched a comeback, hoping for a giant payday with Oscar De La Hoya.

Edwin Rosario by no means misplaced his vaunted punching energy and his closing battle was a second spherical knockout win in September of 1997. Three months later, after a go to along with his youngsters, he mentioned he felt drained and wanted a relaxation. He went to mattress and by no means wakened, struggling an aneurysm and dying in his sleep. The docs later mentioned that Rosario’s historical past of alcohol and drug abuse was a think about his premature demise.       

— Robert Portis 



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